Everyone knows the New York real estate scene is scary. But more than a few buildings can be downright terrifying - and intense bidding wars have nothing to do with it.
We're talking ghosts, and for some folks who live and work in Gotham's so-called haunted houses, the supernatural is all too real.
One If By Land, Two If By Sea
One If By Land, Two If By Sea, and 25 ghosts, if you believe the stories. The romantic restaurant, located at 17 Barrow St., is rumored to be haunted by Aaron Burr and his daughter, Theodosia, who vanished en route to visit him in New York. They are joined by runaway slaves, soldiers, a "drunken" British officer who froze to death in his sleep and another female spirit who protects the restaurant by causing rude, "nasty" people to fight amongst themselves. If you have "psychic energy," they may materialize for you, but most people leave without a visit from Theodosia or her friends.
"You may see something out of the corner of your eye, but they're not dancing through the dining rooms," said Kirk Adair, the restaurant manager. "They're more active at certain times - usually very late at night, when it becomes their space instead of ours."
Manhattan Bistro, at 129 Spring St., is rumored to be haunted by Elma Sands, who was pushed into a well outside of the restaurant on Dec. 22, 1799, by her fiancé after he learned that she was pregnant just days before their wedding. He hired two of the most prominent lawyers in the country, including Aaron Burr. The well now resides in the cellar of Manhattan Bistro.
When Eastern Suffolk Paranormal investigated the well, they experienced lightheadedness and heard sounds of shuffling coming from the alleyway.
"I was bartending years ago on Dec. 22, the night she was murdered, when bottles shot off the shelf," said Maria DaGrossa-Hannah, the bistro's owner. "They didn't just fall - they flew."
The Palace Theatre
The Palace Theatre, at 1564 Broadway, is rumored to be haunted by an acrobat who broke his neck and died on the spot, a "ghost cellist" who still strikes a chord from below, and Judy Garland, who made her last formal appearance there.
New Amsterdam Theatre
At the New Amsterdam Theatre, at 214 W. 42nd St., the ghost of former chorus girl Olive Thomas is said to have been spotted holding a blue bottle that many believe once contained the pills she overdosed on to kill herself. The Ziegfeld Follies ghost has been seen around the theater in her Follies dress and headpiece.
The Dakota apartment building at Central Park West and 72nd Street is famous for its creepy role in Roman Polanski's "Rosemary's Baby." It's long been rumored to be haunted by everyone from the unidentified ghost of a little boy to John Lennon, who was slain outside the building in 1980. Various building workers have claimed to see young children dressed in period clothing over the past several decades.
White Horse Tavern
The White Horse Tavern, at 567 Hudson St., is where Dylan Thomas died after taking 18 shots of whiskey at his favorite table. Now, as legend has it, his ghost rotates the table.
"We usually see an outpouring for Halloween," bartender Bob Walsh said.
Walsh also used to work at Chumley's, where the ghost of a woman named Henrietta - left dead over the weekend in front of the fireplace - is said to haunt patrons.
"I never saw her, and I've never seen Dylan," Walsh said. "But who knows, right?"
Merchant's House, at 29 E. Fourth St., is known as "Manhattan's most haunted house." People have seen a woman while working in the cellar, along with some ghostly men in brown suits, according to director Margaret Gardner.
"We've been conducting paranormal investigations once a month all year to see if we can come up with answers," she said.
Anthony Bellov, a museum employee for 20 years and now a member of its board of directors, said that many people have seen, smelled, heard or been touched by things that actually aren't there. He says it's important to be respectful of these forces, and the staff members treat them like "part of their extended family."
"We talk to the ghosts, say good morning and good night," he said. "When we have special events, we explain to the ghosts that a lot of people will be coming, but we're doing it to raise money for the house. We ask them to be patient."