Ghost Tour in My ‘Hood

The day I left for Poland, I convinced J to buy tickets for the UWS Ghost Walking Tour on Halloween because I love walking tours (I did, like, 8 in Poland) and especially ghost ones! On Halloween nonetheless.

We met at the “Ghostbusters” building at 55 Central Park West (you know, the one Sigourney Weaver lives in) and there was one other person there, as well as our tour guide, an older man wearing a cape and a black hat. He looked the part, for sure.

During the 90 minute tour, we weaved through the streets from 65th and Central Park West back to 72nd and Central Park West. First we took a detour along 69th Street between Central Park West and Amsterdam. The neighborhood association shuts down the street every year and goes really insane. It was quite the scene to walk through. There are some photos after the jump…

Back to the Ghost Tour: It was a ghost tour along with some history thrown in. We saw the Masonic Temple on West 73rd Street; we heard a story about a single woman who lived at 234 West 72nd Street and liked to pick up men at the bar across the street and once was killed by one of them in that apartment; we heard the history of the grand Ansonia. Our guide also pointed out that the first ever automobile accident was at the corner of 74th and Central Park West where someone was hit by a car while getting out of a horse-drawn carriage. Supposedly if you stand in the middle of the street, you’ll feel the hand of the man who was killed pulling you back towards the sidewalk. The townhouses on the north side of 73rd Street were designed by Henry Hardenberg, who designed The Dakota and later The Plaza. Our guide also pointed out the building where supposedly the first rock’n’roll song was ever recorded in this country (”Rock Around the Clock”) and it later became condos and home to Lady Gaga’s parents and later Lady Gaga. He said he likes to think the spirits of those musicians had something to do with her musical talents. 

We ended at my favorite building in New York City – The Dakota. If you’ve seen Rosemary’s Baby, you’ll recognize it. It’s the only movie that was ever permitted to film inside the building. I watched with envy as we stood outside, listening to ghost stories, and watching the occasional resident run inside. Edward Clarke, the original owner of the building who died two years before it was finished, still haunts the building, we were told. There’s also the ghost of John Lennon, of course. And the ghost of a crying woman who can occasionally be seen.

The tour was less informative than some other walking tours I’ve been on, but it was still the perfect way to spend a chilly Hallow’s Eve.

Ghost Tours

I love going on ghost tours. I’ve been on them in London and Seattle (I should probably go on one in New York, right?), and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to go on one when Kristen and I were in New Orleans for a few days. 

We ended up being the only people to show up for our tour so it was basically a private tour, just for us, with a few stops for drinks along the way. Our tour guide, Judy Bajoie, was incredibly informative (she was a former high school history teacher) and super fun. She kept telling us where to take photos to see if we’d catch anything. I took lots but I think I may have caught things in two of the photos.

Unfortunately I don’t remember exactly what happened in this building (I’m going to be buying this book very shortly to see if they can jog my memory) but our guide told us to take photos and see if we saw anything. I took a bunch and in one of them the white blur you see in the above photo appeared. Kristen and her looked at my camera and went, “Whoa, that’s definitely something!” And off we went to the next place.

This photo was taken from the steps outside the Louisiana Supreme Court Building, which is in New Orleans, yes, instead of the state’s capital, Baton Rouge. There’s a lawyer that’s been known to haunt the court building that our guide told us could be seen often standing in the hallway where I took this photo. There looks like there could be a fan or something above the light in the window on the right, or may even the outline of a body in the center pane. 

Who knows what these things really are. I just thought it was kind of cool and wanted to share them with y’all. If you’re ever in New Orleans, definitely take a ghost tour with Judy Bajoie. 

Five Days in New Orleans

Sorry for the silence! After five days in New Orleans with Kristen, my sinuses freaked out and I was busy back at work, so, Tumblrs, sorry, you took a back seat. BUT! New Orleans is an amazing city. When Tennessee Williams said “There are only 3 cities in America, New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. Everywhere else is Cleveland,” he was not lying. So much history and art and music. The architecture is beautiful there. I was astonished. It’s also one of the most haunted cities in America. It’s ALSO cheap as hell. My beer at the hotel bar was $7.50 (RIGHT?). 

Kristen and I went on a ghost tour, got lots of beads (it was the verrrrry beginning of Mardi Gras), went to Frenchmen Street, drank Hurricanes at Pat O’Briens where they were invented, saw the shitshow that was Bourdon Street, got very sloshed at times, went to Cafe Du Monde for the coffee, listened to jazz at Spotted Cat, and ate lots of amazing food (Herbsaint and Three Muses – GO). And we walked an entire parade route down Dauphine Street (we only caught up the tail end of it, unfortunately) and saw lots of the Bywater.

When I was on my own, I went into the Louisiana and New Orleans #1 Cemeteries (saw Marie Laveaus’ grave), I went to the World War II Memorial Museum, walked around the French Quarter, the Frenchmarket, and the Warehouse District lots. I drank a $3.50 Shocktop (not happy hour, that’s just the regular price, WHAT). I went to one of the Louisiana State Museums to exhibits on Katrina and Mardi Gras, I went to a yoga class at Reyn Yoga when I was incredibly hung over. I walked up and down Royal Street in the French Quarter a bunch of times listening to the music. I spent a bunch of time in Jackson Square people watching (and listening to music). I ate at the Ruby Slipper and Sylvain (both were awesome!). 

For the first time ever I didn’t really buy any souvenirs. I just didn’t feel like I needed any. I brought coffee back for my office and pralines back for my parents, and lots of beads, but that’s it. 

The people were incredibly nice and there’s so much to do there. I was sad to leave the seventy degree whether for twenty degree weather, but I was exhausted. If you’re going to NOLA, go for 4-5 days for your first time. You’ll never be bored but it won’t be too much. LOTS of pictures below the cut…

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