Posts Tagged ‘New York’

Also known as The Island of the Dead, it is run by the NYC Department of corrections and to visit you’d need to be either a convict, worker or a family member of someone that is buried on the island, and even family members are heavily supervised. Tresspass also leaves violators with a heavy fine and up to two years of imprisonment.

Hart’s Island was a POW camp for four months during 1865, 235 confederate soldiers died on the island. In 1870 it was a yellow fever quarantine station for New York and then in 1885 there was a women’s insane asylum which still stands today, and there was also a boys reformatory. Then in World War 2 it was handed to the Navy and it has also been used as a prison, TB Sanatorium and drug rehabilitation centre.

So all of this aside the Island has also been used for another purpose, the disposal of the dead for those that cannot be funded for a proper burial. 850,000 people have been buried there in mass graves and the number is not likely to stop.

Most of the people that are buried there died as unknown, unclaimed bodies. The homeless, mentally ill, alcoholics, transients, and other unfortunates from the minors to elders reside in the trenches and with such a gloomy history it’s not surprising that stories of the haunted come from the land.

A trench at the potter's field on Hart Island, circa 1890 by Jacob Riis

The hotel is located in Manhattan, New York and a half-block away from Times Square. It was originally financed by a loan to Harris and Percy Uris in May 1929, then chartered by M C Levine on 22nd April 1930. Until 1976 the hotel was known as the Dixie Hotel and it is 24 stories high, when it opened it had 1000 rooms and now has 700. It was incredibly large but the wing on 42nd street has since been demolished.

Thanks to reviews from 2004-2008 the hotel gained notoriety because it was voted the dirtiest hotel in America for those four years in a row, numerous reports on Trip Advisor warned of bedbugs and unsafe conditions. As of 2012 it was still in the process of renovation and mixed reviews are on trip advisor of late with the location being it’s primary bonus but the reviews still seem to show that the hotel’s age and wear still show. I am a little frustrated that I found out about this after I had been, during my visit to New York I am sure I would have convinced my friend from Connecticut that we could have a nose around!

The hotel has seen several owners and so I am going to just pick up on relevant points for interest in regards to this blog. For instance the hotel and bus terminal were sold in March 1932 during the Great Depression to pay off a debt, Roy S Hubbel gained control of it and incidentally died in the hotel in his room October 1932, aged 55.

In 1942 The Carter Hotels corporation took over, they allocated money to it in 1976 for renovation and sign alterations as part of the project to clean up the Times Square area. They then changed the name to fit with the chain of hotels. The bus depot there was in used for 27 years, finally closing July 1957. At the peak it handled 350 buses per day in summer.

April 1942 it got an increase in people using it as a permanent residence, there was a 255 seat theatre there that opened in 1966 and was then used as a nightclub and restaurant. Food was served in the hotels restaurant and amateur magicians would drop in during the 70’s to sit around the “Dixie Round Table” to swap stories and tricks. The theatre is now occupied by the Cheetah’s Gentleman’s Club.

In 1983 the hotel was home for 190 families and in December 1983 it was cited for constantly failing in regulations for health and safety, the city sued the hotel and by 1985 the owner (Truong) was found in contempt of court and ordered to pay out a $10,000 fine. New York City used it as a homeless shelter in June 1984 and the hotels 43rd Street Entrance was in regular use for teenagers and children to gather.

By the end of 1985 the number of families there had been reduced from 300 to 61 and eventually the city moved all of the homeless families from the hotel in 1988. They moved the homeless families because of troubles with plumbing, electricity, security and vermin, yet despite this they continued to try and attract guests to the hotel. In 1990 the Penthouse Hostel operated leases on the 23rd and 24th floors and the hostel sign was barely visible, then in 1998 the hotel was temporarily closed because an emergency fire exit was damaged.

There are a few anecdotes for the hotel, such as the store clerk, Sidney Miller, being arrested for violating an antismut law and was convicted in March 1966. He had an accomplice and the two were printing dirty magazines. In 1980 Darrell Bossett was an unemployed laborer who was arrested in a scuffle with police on the 4th floor. He was then charged with first and second degree murder, along with possession of a weapon, for the shooting of Officer Gabriele Vitale.

Along with this are the deaths, George R Sanders from Brooklyn jumped out of the 14th floor on 13th March, 1931. His body went through the roof of a single story restaurant; he landed at the feet of two customers and the night manager. No doubt scarring them for life! Mr Sanders left a note in his room to identify himself and citing that he was depressed.

Olga Kilbrick committed suicide too October 1931, she was the daughter of a wealthy Brockton, Mass insurance executive and had been staying on the 21st Floor. Police found a Brockton Musical Chorus card, 15 cents in change, her gloves and a pocketbook in her room.

Another suicide was Mr James M Fairbanks, a former office manager and was discovered by hotel employees on the roof of a three story extension, April 1932. He was avoiding a $29,000 embezzlement from his employers, he was staying in Room 2002 that night, and he was due to be sentenced the next day which would have carried a 5-10 year sentence.

September 1941 saw a young man from Wayne, Nebraska meet his end on the 12th floor of the hotel when he fell asleep smoking. The story made headlines because just after he arrived he got a letter from his father saying that he his mother had a premonition of something happening to him. He was found by the hotel employees in a chair with the clothes on his upper body burned completely, he died after being taken to Roosevelt Hospital.

In November 1983 there was a tragedy too, a 25 day old infant was beaten to death by Jack Joaquin Correa, the father and resident. He was charged with murder and child abuse. In 1987 a woman was thrown to her death from a window on one of the top floors and then in July 1999 a clerk murdered a co-worker in a brawl near the front desk.

31st August, 2007 a housekeeper found the body of Kristine Yitref, 33 years old, who was wrapped in plastic garbage bags under a bed in Room 608. Clarence Dean, 35 years old, was a sex offender who was charged with her homicide. “Miss Kris” was a former member of the goth rock group, The Nons, and turned to prostitution to fuel a drug habit, sadly she met her end at Hotel Carter.

That leads me to the whether or not it’s haunted, well it seems that guests think so. A review on Trip Advisor from May 2010 tells you that the place was dirty and the staff weren’t too great either. What they did put was that the elevator would take you to the wrong floor, it might be wiring but happened to others they new, they say that they had a shower and hangers kept swinging uncontrollably and even flew off for some reason. They radio then turned on, they had checked and there had been no alarm set. The customer said that they feel it was haunted.

The second one that I found was from further back in November 2003, so just before all the bad reviews really kicked into the limelight. The customer again mentioned the rudeness of some staff. They had a nicer hotel to start with but wanted to save money and so picked the alternative 2 star, sensibly so they had more to spend on things to do.

The review goes on to say that they felt “creeped out” and they assumed it was just down to it being an old hotel. The guests in the party got very little sleep in four days and when they she did sleep she was awoken to the feeling that someone was there, like they had jumped on the bed with them. Lisa says that two of her friends felt good with the ghost but she felt pretty freaked out. She even felt that she needed to shower with the door open and that she warns people that whilst the hotel was great you needed to be aware of the spooks

A small island in the East River, between the Bronx and Riker’s Island, New York City. Once a hospital it is now pretty much a bird sanctuary, and uninhabited. It’s smaller companion is the South Brother Island, not located all too far away.

It was uninhabited until 1855 when the Riverside Hospital relocated there from what is now Roosevelt Island.

The island was also the site of a wreck of the General Slocum, a steamship. It had a fire on board, June 15th 1904, and a thousand people died before the ship beached up on the shores. The bodies also washed up on the shore.

In the 1950’s a centre was opened to treat young drug addicts. Heroin addicts were confined to the island and locked up until they were cleaned up. By the 1960’s widespread staff corruption and patient recidivism forced it’s closure.

 

Riverside_Hospital_North_Brother_Island_crop

Riverside Hospital North Brother Island crop” by reivax from Washington, DC, USA – Riverside Hospital. Licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

New York, just off the shore of the Hudson River hosts a medieval style castle that can be seen on the island more often locally referred to as Bannerman’s. It was once emblazoned on the walls of the castle as ‘Bannerman’s Arsenal’ but now has decayed too much to be seen fully. It was built around 1901 to 1908, to be a warehouse for the weapons traded by Francis Bannerman VI, who was an arms dealer and curious man.

In 1967 the Island was sold for a small sum to the New York State, and the family abandoned the island. In 1969 a fire left the island in it’s present and ruined state.

It is accessible by boat, and far too dangerous to swim with tides, there is a security presence but all is not lost, there’s possibilities of tours in the future.

Meanwhile for a chance to safely see it, if you are in the area, go to Route 9D, go to Breakneck Point and park. Cross the bridge but watch out for trains!

 

Wales in New York, an old inactive village lot which has the original settlers of Wales and the surrounding areas buried within the Goodleburg Cemetery. It was a relatively peaceful place to visit until the 1990’s when rumours started up about ghosts and sightings of apparitions. It sparked interest with enthusiasts who were intent on capturing evidence of the Paranormal.

21st June 2003, 11:15PM saw the death of a member of the Western York team, Paranormal Ghost Society when they were struck by an oncoming car. The cause was listed as DUI but partial blame has been laid on the group for being on the road late at night when there are many known blind curves.

Thanks to vandalism there is a harsh restriction on visitors that they can only go from 8am to Dusk. Anyone outside of those hours caught on the grounds will be prosecuted due to the history of vandalism. Also if you want to head that way prepare for a walk, there is no parking within half a mile.

The folklore/urban legend attached to the cemetery is that a man named Dr Goodleberg had been performing illegal abortions behind his home, on a small hill overlooking the cemetery. Any of the aborted foetus or any one that did not survive the abortion procedure was then buried in the cemetery.