Though I always try to keep Scouting NY as positive as possible, I have to make an exception with this post. Yes, New York is safer than ever, but there are still a few dark byways and shady buildings that can get you into trouble – hell, these are the places I refuse to go. You can’t say you weren’t warned.
1) The Bramford – 1 West 72nd Street – Upper West Side – Manhattan
Seems like: old world New York at its finest
Actually is: the home of a Satanic cult
Considering the atrocities that have occurred at this building over the years, its nickname, the “Black Bramford,” is well-earned. Once home to the Trench sisters (two proper Victorian ladies who cooked and ate several young children, including a niece), later residents Pearl Ames and Keith Kennedy, with his obscene parties, continued to bring infamy to the place. In 1959, a dead infant was found wrapped in newspaper in the basement.
But it is Adrian Marcato who will forever be considered synonymous with the property. In the 1890s, Marcato claimed to have conjured up the living Satan within the walls of the Bramford. Whatever the truth, the residents believed him enough to attack and nearly kill him in the lobby. By the 1920s, the building was half-empty.
By World War II, a boom in housing filled the Bramford again, and today, it’s one of the most exclusive residences in the city. However, rumors abound that Marcato’s work continues within the Bramford’s shadowy corridors. Tannis root, the cultivation of which is banned in the city, has been found growing in the building’s courtyard, and residents speak of strange chanting heard through the walls. Something very evil is brewing at the Bramford, and if the co-op won’t approve your application, be glad.
2) Manhattan Museum of Art, 1 Bowling Green, Manhattan
Seems like: a great place to spend a rainy day
Actually is: haunted by the spirit of a 16th-century genocidal tyrant
Though it may be considered one of city’s preeminent museums, with the famed Janosz Poha heading its restoration wing, I’d highly advise you to avoid the MMA due to a painting recently added to its Romantic exhibition:
Colorfully known as the sorrow of Moldovia and the scourge of Carpathia, Prince Vigo was born in 1505 and is said to have “sat on a throne of blood” in a “castle of pain” atop a “mountain of skulls.” A sorcerer and “genocidal madman,” his death at 105 years wasn’t due to just “hanging in there”: he was poisoned, stabbed, shot, hung, stretched, disemboweled, drawn and quartered.
Due to Vigo’s repeated attempts at possessing children for his resurrection, the museum highly advises visitors not to bring babies under 18 months within a 10-foot radius of the painting (you should probably keep your distance too).
3) “Mugger’s Lane” – Crosby Street btw. Prince & Spring, Soho, Manhattan
Seems like: a cobblestoned Soho byway
Actually is: a good place to get shot and turn into a ghost
Though much of Soho may be a gentrified paradise for artistic wannabes, be sure to avoid the block known as “Mugger’s Lane” – Crosby Street, between Prince & Spring. On any given night, couples can be found ignorantly walking this seedy backstreet while “finally talking” about love and marriage, completely unaware of the criminal element lurking in the shadows, often waiting to silence those who have discovered their unlawful money laundering schemes.
The ghosts of those who have been murdered while protecting their loved ones are said to haunt Crosby Street, and one spectral figure in particular is often seen just after midnight, forever operating what appears to be a pottery wheel.
4) 55 Central Park West – Upper West Side – Manhattan
Seems like: an art-deco highrise
Actually is: a gateway to the dimension of Gozer
Designed by architect, noted doctor, and Gozer worshipper Ivo Shandor, 55 Central Park West is unusual for a number of reasons, in particular for its roof cap, which is exactly like the kind of telemetry tracker NASA uses to identify dead pulsars in deep space. It also features girders with cores of pure selenium, which frankly would only be used by a certified genius, or an aesthetic wacko.
Oh, and there’s an interdimensional temple on the roof.
A check with the Department of Housing’s website shows a spate of recent complaints about the building, the most egregious being: eggs spontaneously cooking on kitchen counters; monstrous “terror dogs” appearing in refrigerators; building gargoyles coming to life; “a bear loose in his apartment”; and the faint smell of roasting marshmallows.
Remember: if anyone in the building ever happens to ask if you are a god, you say yes. Trust me.
5) The Dolphin Hotel – Room 1408 – Midtown, Manhattan
Seems like: a fancy hotel
Actually is: a haunted fancy hotel
Since the Hotel Dolphin opened 95 years ago, room 1408 has had seven suicide jumpers, four overdoses, five hangings, three mutilations, and two stranglings, not to mention heart attacks, strokes, and a man who drowned in a bowl of chicken soup, for a grand total of 56 deaths.
It is said that no one has been able to last more than an hour inside, and even more remarkably, the hotel is reported to be 100% bed bug-free.
Though you can stay in 1408 by citing an obscure New York City law allowing you to demand any room currently vacant in a hotel, trust manager Gerald Olin when he tells you: “It’s an evil fucking room.”
6) 10 Montague Terrace, Brooklyn Heights, Brooklyn
Seems like: an ordinary townhouse.
Actually is: the gateway to hell.
It seems like the dream apartment: nestled at the end of the wonderful Remsen Street cul-de-sac, with amazing views of the city, and only $400 a month, how could you say no to 1o Montague Terrace? There’s just one thing that stands out as a bit unusual: the silhouetted figure keeping watch from the top window.
But be thankful for this person’s ever-vigilant gaze – he’s all that’s keeping Satan’s minions from pouring into our world. Because as it happens, 10 Montague Terrace was built directly on top of the gateway to hell (one can only imagine what that does to the property value).
Luckily, a guardian has been appointed to keep back the forces of evil, a blind priest known as the Sentinel, who prevents the devil’s army from crossing over. Good news: the rent is cheap. Bad news: if you live here, there’s a good chance you’ll be selected as the next Sentinel.
7) Milton, Chadwick, & Waters Law Firm, Penta Plaza, 180 Maiden Lane, Manhattan
Seems like: a post-modern skyscraper near Wall Street
Actually is: Satan’s law firm.
With over 600 associates and 40 vested partners, Milton, Chadwick, & Waters is known throughout New York as the go-to firm for lawyers specializing in the defense of murderers, thieves, rapists, and pedophiles – especially when you’re actually guilty.
Unfortunately, John Milton also happens to be Satan, which means a lot of long speeches on the irrationality of God, the possibility that he might rape and kill your loved ones, and a tendency to burst into flames when angry.
Stick to the South Street Seaport.
8) Clamp Enterprises Building – 101 Park Avenue – Midtown, Manhattan
Seems like: a typical midtown skyscraper
Actually is: infested with gremlins
101 Park Avenue, better known as the Clamp Enterprises building, is the headquarters of eccentric billionaire Donald Clamp. Unfortunately, a freak accident involving a mogwai and water in the Clamp Enterprises lab has resulted in an infestation of petulant gremlins, who delight in torturing anyone who crosses their path.
Unfortunately, the threat extends beyond the building, as a genetically-engineered flying gremlin with a resistance to the sun has been recently spotted terrorizing tourists on Park Avenue.
Let’s hope it doesn’t rain.
9) 11 Washington Square North – Greenwich Village, Manhattan
Seems like: a quaint brick row house on Washington Square Park
Actually is: a zombie shelter
As you probably recall, back in September, a genetically-engineered variant of the measles virus was accidentally released from a lab, killing 90% of the world’s population and turning the rest into zombie-like monsters. These so-called darkseekers now tend to congregate around Washington Square Park, most likely because the last man in New York City is hiding out at #11 Washington Square North.
Be extra vigilant as you travel through this neighborhood, not only because of the darkseekers, but also for Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville’s extensive network of hidden explosives (and his flagrant disregard for New York’s architectural history).
10) 500 Main Street – Roosevelt Island
Seems like: one of Roosevelt Island’s warm and homey brutalist-style buildings
Actually is: haunted, with some serious plumbing issues
500 Main Street on Roosevelt Island has everything you could want from a New York highrise: great location, cheap rent, modern facilities, reasonably close to your ex-husband Kyle’s place in Jersey City…There’s just the issue of a minor plumbing problem in which dark water spontaneously spews out of faucets, ceilings, walls, and mirrors, and occasionally tries to kill its tenants.
You see, 500 Main Street is haunted by the spirit of a girl who thought this water tower was the building’s rooftop pool. It’s also haunted by the dreariest weather in New York City, which frankly is a much more compelling reason to avoid it.
Seriously, I was depressed just digging up pictures for this.
BONUS: American Gardens Building – 55 West 81st Street – Manhattan
Originally, I was going to leave this one off the list, since the building has done everything possible to hide their infamous past, including altering the building facade and changing the street number. But they were pretty rude to me last time I tried to scout the penthouse for a movie, so screw ‘em. You know 55 West 81st Street as the home to New York’s most notorious serial killer…
While Pierce & Pierce mergers and acquisitions VP Patrick Bateman often takes his killing sprees out onto the streets of New York, he’s also perfectly happy to conduct them within the comfort of his own apartment, often while extolling on the philosophical underpinnings of the latest pop music.
Paul Allen recently met his untimely end in Bateman’s apartment, along with several prositutes and…Huh…wait a minute…It doesn’t make sense, actually…
See, I had dinner with Paul Allen at Dorsia just last week.
Be careful out there. Halloween may be a few weeks away, but New York in October always feels like the most haunting month of the year to me, and I hate to see it go by quickly.
PS – Confused? See: 1) Rosemary’s Baby 2) Ghostbusters 2 3) Ghost 4) Ghostbusters 5) 1408 6) The Sentinel 7) The Devil’s Advocate 8) Gremlins II 9) I Am Legend 10) Dark Water 11) American Psycho