By Carol Cain, on October 30, 2014

Haunted New York City

I don’t need much convincing over the fact that there are plenty of places in New York City that are haunted. It doesn’t even have to be Halloween for me to know this is true. 

Listen, I am Latina, and ghosts or spirits are just par for the course in my culture. We even have candles for a whole lot of them, and though I have spared my kids the trauma, we all know the chupacabra and his homies hang out in my backyard at night.

When I go on a Halloween tours through the city and guides point out how the spirit of poet Dorothy Parker, one of the founding members of the Algonquin Round Table, likes to hang around the Algonquin Hotel, I believe it. I even believe that there are more than 20 ghosts that haunt One if by Land, Two if by Sea, considered to be one of the most romantic restaurants in the city. I mean, I will still eat there because the food is pretty good, but I am always expecting something to happen or disappear (the ghosts apparently like women’s jewelry).

Also, we all know about the subculture of city dwellers that used to live in the underground tunnels beneath the city, right? Of course we do. Well these inhabitants and their children–who by the way, never saw the light of day–were pushed out once the underground train system was built and its unclear what happened to them after that. (We know something did. Have you seen the size of our rats? That’s just not natural.)

Not surprisingly, New York’s supernatural elements are highlighted during the month of October, when people are most eager to find out all the creepy details of what lingers about when we aren’t looking. If you have what it takes to learn the truth about this haunted city, then you will enjoy these tours and shows that give all the details and history of the many ghosts and beings that live among us:

Viewfinder Tip: Halloween in New York City can be fun for kids as well, with many stores opening their doors with treats to give to kids in costumes on October 31.

Nightmare New York is one part haunted house and one part theatrical performance that covers some of the most popular urban legends in New York. During the show, you will learn about everything from the legend of Cropsey, known as the New Yorker’s Bogeyman, to the ghost in Melrose Hall, in Brooklyn.

The Ghosts of New York tours take you on several haunted experiences throughout the city. Did you know that there once was a curse that prevented New York City mayors from going on to higher office? You can learn all about it on this tour. You also can hunt down the spirits of George Washington and his war comrades, and walk through the haunted graveyard of Trinity Church. If you dare.

Boroughs of the Dead tours are lead by horror and speculative fiction writers. One of my favorites is the Edgar Allen Poe’s Greenwich Village tour, on which you see where the poet lived, wrote, and even read his works. The experience is like stepping back in time and seeing Washington Square Park as it used to be. I also really like the Ghosts of Broadway and Hell’s Kitchen tours, on which you learn all about the spirits that still linger along the Great White Way.

Finally, when I want to embrace the Halloween spirit with my kids, I like to go to any one of the many events hosted by the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation. Events are hosted in every borough at different times and days, and many of them are free. Check out the Parks Department website for a full listing.

In the meantime, be safe out there and don’t go down any deserted alleys or crawl into any dark tunnels at night. You don’t want to piss off any larger-than-life rats or sleeping ghosts.

What are some of your favorite Halloween activities in your hometown?