Thursday, September 3, 2015

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

QUEENS (Long Island City) - Corner of 9th Street and 35th Avenue pde_0818

Ambrogio Passaro


The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 27, 1916

So, where were Hamilton Street and Pierce Avenue?

And when were the street names in Queens changed to numbers?

For the original images please view

Is this location haunted?  please contact me at with information. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

MANHATTAN - 169 Mulberry Street: La Mela Ristorante pde_0070

169 Mulberry Street.  Long gone are the moulded ceiling tiles.  Maybe they're hidden behind the institutional drop ceiling. Well, the decor is only a little less inspired than it was in 1915.


The New York Times, September 29, 1915.
For the original images please view

Other events in the history of this address:

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 18, 1927.
Is this location haunted?  please contact me at with information.

#169 Mulberry Street Today

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

THE BRONX - 774 Dawson Avenue pde_0889

Mrs Gertrude Bazell (daughter, on floor) and Mrs. Rebecca Pullman


On January 26, 1916, retired Chicago insurance broker Nathan Pullman murdered his wife Rebecca and their daughter Gertrude (of #782 Prospect Avenue, the address alluded to in the photo description, see links at bottom for original images) with a hatchet and an axe.  He then fled to the Grand Central Hotel (a place with bad history of its own) where he'd been frequently meeting with an unknown younger woman, and jumped out a fourth floor window.  Crashing down onto the basement steps of a barber shop, he left behind several letters, the missives of an unbalanced mind.

Goodby, Ta-ta everybody.  I guess I'll make good.  I'm going away on a long journey.  Ta-ta, once more...I donate my body to any chartered medical institution for the study of science.  The medical institution can cut my body to pieces and turn it inside out and preserve it with the skull for any purposes.  NATHAN PULLMAN

Death Certificate
Name Pullman, Rebecca
Age 50 y
Date Jan 26
Year 1916
CertNbr 842
Town/County Bronx

Death Certificate
Name Bazell, Gertrude
Age 24 y
Date Jan 26
Year 1916
CertNbr 841
Town/County Bronx

774 Dawson Street could be charming...but is it haunted?

For the original images please view

Is this location haunted?  Please contact me at with information.

Monday, August 3, 2015

MANHATTAN - 336 East 40th Street pde_1154

Michael Santorto on the ground floor of 336 East 40th Street

The New York Times, May 1, 1916.  Joseph Mazzarelli died in the hospital on this day.

336 East 40th Street Today

For the original images please view

NYC Department of Records #1
NYC Department of Records #2
NYC Department of Records #3
Earlier in the history of this address:

This area, once "the scene of many fights," was known as Corcoran's Roost, "whose grim wall of stone on the Fortieth Street side of First Avenue became in modern times the trysting place of members of the 'Rag Gang.'" --Nooks & Corners of Old NEW YORK, by Charles Hemstreet, 1899

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 25, 1899.

The New York Times, September 11, 1907


Sunday, August 2, 2015

BROOKLYN - 248 President Street pde_1149 and Extras

Rose Russo on the floor of her kitchen in the lower part of 248 President Street.


Twenty-four-year-old Rose Russo was shot by her husband Joseph, 26, a longshoreman, when his pistol accidentally discharged as he was cleaning it.  The detectives who investigated the scene were reported as seeming  satisfied that the killing was an accident, however Joseph Russo was still held without bail on the charge of homicide.  Also found in the house were a stiletto and two loaded revolvers for which Russo had no permit.  The Brooklyn Daily Eagle of June 15, 1916 reported in the "Special Sessions Cases" "Joseph Russo, 248 President street, revolver; sentence suspended," so it doesn't seem he was convicted of homicide.  Mrs. Rose Russo left behind a husband and two young children.

Death Certificate
Name Russo, Rosaria
Age 24 y
Date May 8
Year 1916
CertNbr 10115
Town/County Kings 

For the original images please view

NYC Department of Records #1
NYC Department of Records #2  

Is this location haunted?  Please contact me at with information.

"To make his death more certain...."
Durkee's Woods
John Monahan brutally murdered his wife, Rollie, at their 68 East 8th Street home on December 29, 1913.  He then traveled to Durkee's Woods, now a part of Cedar Grove Cemetery (Queens), and took chloroform, arsenic, laudanum and strychnine.  Finally, to ensure his death, he slit both wrists.  Mrs. Monahan's funeral was being held at the house on 8th Street when two boys going skating found John Monahan's body.  68 East 8th Street no longer stands, it was replaced by a 6-story apartment building in the '50s.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, January 2, 1914.  

The Daylight Murderer of Roebling Street
January 26, 1914.  Peter Lacorte, 4, was shot to death in his home at 117 Roebling Street (Williamsburg) with the revolver of his brother-in-law, Vincenzo Commando, soon after known as the "daylight murderer of Roebling Street."  The family claimed that the little boy shot himself, however the coroner found this to be an impossibility.  Commando was charged with violating the Sullivan Law and released on bail (The New York Tribune and The New York Times, February 9, 1914).  Only days later, Vito D'Allesandro, a stableman, was murdered in front of #117 Roebling Street.  A witness, fourteen-year-old Frank Desanto identified Commando as the murderer and Commando was charged with first degree murder (The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 4, 1914).  I haven't been able to find if the charge stuck yet.

Infant Antonio Romano died at 117 Roebling on September 16, 1915 as a result of an 88 degree heat.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, September 16, 1915.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

MANHATTAN - 1260-1266 Broadway: The Radison Hotel Martinique

Hotel Deaths


The lifeless body of 35-year-old Mrs. Elsie Lee Hilair was found in Room 726 of the Hotel Martinique on the morning of March 16, 1917.  She had been strangled, possibly poisoned, and robbed of $2,500 worth of jewelry.  

Mrs. Hilair's niece, Irene Murray, reported that her aunt told her that she was going to meet "Benny" at Borough Hall just before she left home for the last time. 


"His alibi demolished by his own admission that he was with Mrs. Elsie Lee Hilair on Thursday last up to within two hours or so before she was strangled to death in the Hotel Martinique, Benjamin Sternberg, known also as Benny Sutton, was placed under arrest at noon today and accused by the police of the murder of Mrs. Hilair....Israel Sternberg, the 60-year-old father of Benny, made a violent effort to rescue his son from the detectives...Armed with his cane, the elder Sternberg struck right and left and made a rush for Benny, hanging to his coat...His cane, which had battered several heads and hurt a few noses belonging to detectives, was finally taken away from him and he was pushed to the ground...'I'm no tango pirate,' said Benny, with much emphasis.  'You have to be a dancer to be one of those, and I'm no dancer.  I can only waltz, and the twostep gets my feet into trouble every time I try it.'" (Not a very convincing argument, says I.)
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 21, 1917.

The Sun, March 22, 1917.
"Since a detective was requested by Sternberg to get him a new tie yesterday morning the police have been taking a new interest in the green, flowered one which he wore when he gave himself up.  The green tie, mutilated and torn into seven strips, was found in "Benny's" inside vest pocket.  It will be reconstructed or duplicated,
and shown to persons who come forward to try to identify Sternberg."
The NewYork Tribune March 23, 1917.

Sternberg was indicted for murder in the first degree on March 29, 1917 and plead not guilty.
The Brooklyn Daily Eagle March 29 and 30, 1917.
He was freed of the murder charge, the reason: evidence lacking. (Eleven jurors found that Mrs. Hilair "came to her death from strangulation at the hands of a person or persons unknown," while one feeble minded person decided that "death was from natural causes," which I suppose means she strangled herself.  At any rate, this Sternberg was a schmuck and he probably did do it.)
The Sun, March 31, 1917.
The Evening World, June 29, 1917.

The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, August 11, 1921. 
The New York Times, January 28, 1920 

George Barr McCutcheon
A Selection of Other Hotel Deaths 
Edwin S. Lemoine, a broker from St. Louis, died at the hotel December 4, 1906.

January 2, 1919, Henry O. Wooten, 45, the head of a wholesale and retail liquor firm in Canada, blew part of his head off with both barrels of a shotgun that he bought just the day before.
The Evening World, January 3, 1919.

"Human fly," Harry F Young, who was climbing the Hotel Martinique to promote the silent movie "Safety Last", lost his grip and fell nine stories to his death on March 5, 1923.

George Barr McCutcheon (July 26, 1866-October 23, 1928), novelist, died suddenly at a luncheon of the Dutch Treat Club. 

Jesse B. Byrne, 45, a retail shoe merchant of Kansas City, Missouri, was found dead in his bed from alcoholism (bad liquor). February 22, 1929.

Maj. Gen. Thomas J. Gent, Jr.

Major General Gent's wife Martha Louise had been dead of natural causes for about a week by the time he was discovered sitting on the floor beside her body.  Police found two bottles of sedatives, one empty, in the room.  "The general's undernourished, dehydrated condition was inconsistent with ample supply of food and beverages in the housekeeping suite," reported the Troy Record, February 19, 1964.  The general was described in the Times Record (Troy), February 18, 1964 as "mumbling incoherently and suffering from malnutrition."  Major General Gent was the victim of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head in June 1963, which seems to have hastened his retirement from the Air Force.  In a fragile state of mental health, his wife's death seems to have caused him to go into shock.


"From 1973 until the end of 1988, the Martinique was a  
         welfare hotel
It housed over 1,400 children in December 1985 within 389 families; eighteen months later, there were 438 families. In 1986, the average length of stay at the Martinique by a resident was sixteen months. The Koch administration sought to empty the hotel by the end of 1988. Kozol's 1980's study of the homeless, Rachel and Her Children, was set at the Martinique."

MIlly Says:
November 18, 2011 at 7:59 pm
"I too lived there from 85 -87 I was 12-13 years old. we lived on the 11th floor apt 1101-1102.what horrible memories for me but it made me the person I am today. I remember one of the security guards got muredered on the 11 th floor, blood all over the place, not something a young girl should see…" (I have not verified this statement.)

83-year-old indigent Samuel Steinhart was beaten and stabbed to death by an 18-year-old robber.
The New York Times, June 3, 1974. 

Is this location haunted?  Please contact me at with information.

Social Commentary

Yvonne McCain

  • I can not recommend Jonathan Kozol's book "Rachel and Her Children" as it does not present a balanced presentation on homelessness.    
  • Yvonne McCain ended up in the Hotel Martinique because she "had been evicted from her apartment in 1982 after refusing to pay rent because her landlord refused to make repairs."  I think she'd have been better off to pay her rent.  Living in a bad apartment surely would have been preferable to living in a crack infested flophouse for four years.  Of course I am speaking from the perspective of one who honors the agreements I make, does not live in a city I can't afford, does not take risks with my credit rating, would never choose for other people to support me and my family.   
  • Dumping thousands of homeless and poor into nice neighborhoods where the residents have earned their place is plain wrong.

I think most people feel like Mr. Berger did when he was interviewed for the the October 19, 1989 edition of the New York Times:

''I consider Kew Gardens to have been a goal and an achievement and a reward,'' Mr. Berger said. ''To have what is a middle-class area become a common all-purpose area negates the incentive of moving ahead. If we wanted to live with the Hotel Martinique, we would have moved to Manhattan.'' 

MANHATTAN - 419 East 57th Street: Ralph Barton

Ralph Barton
(August 14, 1891 – May 19, 1931)

Artist of the jazz age.  Shot himself in the head in his 419 East 57th Street penthouse apartment.

His suicide note reads:
Everyone who has known me and who hears of this will have a different hypothesis to offer to explain why I did it. Practically all of these hypothesis will be dramatic–and completely wrong. Any sane doctor knows that the reasons for suicide are invariably psychopathological. Difficulties in life merely precipitate the event–and the true suicide type manufactures his own difficulties. I have had few real difficulties. I have had, on the contrary, and exceptionally glamorous life–as lives go. And I have had more than my share of affection and appreciation. The most charming, intelligent, and important people I have known have liked me–and the list of my enemies is very flattering to me. I have always had excellent health. But, since my childhood, I have suffered with a melancholia which, in the past 5 years, has begun to show definite symptoms of manic-depressive insanity. It has prevented my getting anything like the full value out of my talents, and, for the past three years, has made work a torture to do at all. It has made it impossible for me to enjoy the simple pleasures of life that seem to get other people through. I have run from wife to wife, from house to house, and from country to country, in a ridiculous effort to escape from myself. In doing so, I am very much afraid that I have spread a good deal of unhappiness among the people who have loved me.”

419 East 57th Street Today

A case of Melancholia by John Updike 

MANHATTAN - 272 Bleecker Street pde_0090

272 Bleecker Street

I've not been able to find any information in the newspapers of the time about this case.

All I know is that in 1915, this saloon was owned by John Straining and Louis Bricca.
R. L. Polk & Co.'s 1915 Trow New York Copartnership and Corporation Directory
Who was Samuele Razzuoli?  Is he the Samuel Razzuoli who was awarded the Silver Star for actions during World War I? See link.  The same one with a New York Social Security number, born December 26, 1888 in Italy and died December 1972 in New Jersey? See link #1 and link #2.

Located at 272 Bleecker Street since 1998 is Cones Ice Cream Artisans.

NYCityMap says this building dates to 1900, so the stabbing took place in here.
Also pertaining to this address:
Dearborn Piper's liquor store was located at 272 Bleecker Street previous to the current building.
Mrs. Mechi Marciano, 25 years old and of 272 Bleecker Street, died in the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire.  The New York Times, March 27, 1911, page 4.  

Triangle Shirtwaist Fire Victims Near Me (blog)

Is this location haunted?  Please contact me at with information.

Friday, July 24, 2015

MANHATTAN - 301 Park Avenue and 13 East 38th Street: The Waldorf Astoria

Hotel Deaths: The Waldorf Astoria @ #301 Park Avenue

The Dunkirk Evening Observer, July 7, 1915*
The Waldorf Astoria was the location of the U.S. inquiries into the April 14, 1912 sinking of the R.M.S. Titanic. Coincidentally or otherwise, John Jacob Astor IV, builder of the Astoria, was among the Titanic dead.    

The New York Times, March 14, 1999
"A 56-year-old man staying at the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel was found dead in his room last night, the victim of a homicide, the police said...In 1986, a 27-year-old Houston hotel executive was found shot to death in his room at the hotel. Four years earlier, a 30-year-old Chase Manhattan vice president was stabbed to death in a hotel stairwell, the victim of a botched robbery. The other slaying occurred in 1948, when a 56-year-old Canadian textile company executive was found bludgeoned to death in his room." 

*Until 1931, The Waldorf Astoria was located where the Empire State Building is now.


At Mrs. Pennypacker's Boarding House
"...alive with simple
optimism and the love of humanity."
Jean Edgerton Hovey, 43 years old, author of "John O'Partletts, a Tale of Strife and Courage, "took gas in her rooms at 13 East 38th Street on November 27, 1915. Her estranged husband, Metropolitan magazine editor, Carl Hovey told the coroner that she suffered from acute neurasthenia and must have committed suicide in a fit of depression.  Her two children were in boarding school at the time.  Carl Hovey went on to marry writer Sonya Levien, who he had met through work.   

The Evening World, November 27, 1915, p. 3.
The New York Times November 28, 1915, p. 19.