A neighborhood with history offers a rich culture and a startlingly accurate glimpse into the past. The Upper West Side is one of such neighborhoods. There are hundreds of buildings that are historic and of architectural significance. However, some of these buildings hold quite the dark past.
Stories of ghosts roaming around hallways and spirits lurking in basements have captured the minds of New Yorkers for decades. Continue reading below to discover which UWS buildings are allegedly haunted.
1 West 72nd Street
The Dakota is a hauntingly beautiful building that’s rightfully gained quite the reputation for attracting not only countless celebrities, but also otherworldly spirits to its mysterious interior. This was the setting for horror classic Rosemary’s Baby. Directed by Roman Polanski, the nail-bitting movie was filmed on site and the building was renamed “The Bramford” for story-telling purposes.
The Dakota is also the infamous site of John Lennon’s assassination on December 8, 1980. His wife Yoko Ono reported seeing his ghost around the building’s premises. Other residents and staff workers have claimed to see the ghost of a little girl and the spirit of an adult with the face of a young boy. Some attribute these enigmatic occurrences to the building’s absence of fire escapes, a feature architect Henry Hardenbergh adopted in order to keep the building soundproof.
Hotel des Artistes
1 West 67th Street
Hotel des Artistes was built in 1915. Architect George M. Pollard designed the building by following a classic Neo-Gothic style. The Upper West Side building has seen plenty of ghostly appearances over the years. It’s been said that Italian actor and pop superstar Rudolph Valentino roams around the building’s hallways leaving a strong smell of his exotic cologne behind. Some reports have even indicated that Valentino appeared as a reflection on one of the building’s grand mirrors.
According to staff workers, another spirit is well-known for touching people.
Hotel des Artistes was featured in the psychological thriller Aubrey Rose, which only makes this haunted hotel even scarier!
The Ansonia was built in 1904 and quickly became the main hub for artists and creative types residing in the neighborhood. The immaculate Gothic design and implementation of majestic gargoyles on its facade attracted New Yorkers to its glamorous interior. However, the Ansonia’s reputation as one of the Upper West Side’s hotspots declined as reports of ghost sightings started to come to light.
According to onlookers, a demented doctor conjured the dead back to life in a chapel off the former hotel’s lobby. Since the spooky incident took place, residents and workers started to report strange occurrences day in and day out. From a doorman confessing to seeing the figure of a man lurking in the shadows of the building’s basement to a guest’s traumatic experience of finding a woman watching over her in the middle of the night, the Ansonia is one of the most fear-inducing buildings in the city.
New York Cancer Hospital
455 Central Park West
The former building of the New York Cancer Hospital holds quite the dark past. Built during the 1880s, the hospital was the first center designed to treat cancer and to use radiation as an applicable treatment. However, abuse inside its premises was rampant and patients would have been lucky to spend their last few days high on morphine and booze.
The hospital was shut down and later became a nursing home where reports of abuse were also frequent. The building was abandoned for good at the turn of the 21st century. The former hospital’s gothic design made it look like a castle, and developers worked hard to transform it into the luxury condominium it is today.
55 Central Park West
Also known as “Spook Central,” 55 Central Park West is famous for being featured in the original Ghostbusters film. In the hit movie, Sigourney Weaver’s character resides in the building and starts to experience a series of paranormal events. The film’s resolution takes place on the building’s rooftop after Gozar the Gozarian transforms into the legendary Marshmallow Man and the gang is able to finally defeat him. The building was designed by architectural firm Schwartz & Gross in 1929, who were greatly influenced by the Art Deco movement. 55 Central Park West belongs to the Central Park West Historic District and is now a residential co-op.