Inside Edgar Allan Poe’s infernal New York City housing hunt

Amenities include: a heart beating under the floorboards, ghosts and jet-black crows banging on your door.

For a lucky few lovers of literature, New York City offers a chance to follow in the footsteps and even sleep under the same roof as the fearsome American writer, Edgar Allan Poe.

Poe’s chilling spine masterpieces were written in residences across town and reflect some of the personal horrors he experienced here.

Poe wrote of Manhattan in 1844 in a newspaper series Business in Gotham: “The city is full of strangers, and everything wears an aspect of intense life.” “The streets, with rare exceptions, are unbearably filthy.”

Whenever things change…you know how it goes.

The obsessed poet lived a short but imaginative life from 1809 to 1849 and at that time, he lived in the city on at least three separate occasions and in 10 or more locations across Manhattan and the Bronx.

said Scott Peoples, professor of English at the College of Charleston and author of “Man of the Crowd: Edgar Allan Poe and the City.”

“Bo moved to New York for the same reason people still moved to New York – that’s where things were happening.”

Scott Peoples, Professor of English at the College of Charleston

In addition to his apocalyptic poems and short stories, Poe also wrote essays on life in the city and its burgeoning literary scene.

“He was both an inside and outsider in the publishing world,” Peoples said. I think that affected his writing. He did a lot of journalism while in New York, and a lot of it was about New York.”

Here’s a look at the Perilous Paintings where Poe dreamed up some of the most famous literary works in American history and what they are today.

give the bird

The exterior of West 84th Street shows a crow statue.
Poe wrote “The Raven” at 215 West 84th Street which appropriately contains the idea of ​​birds in tribute.
Stefano Giovannini

In 1844, Poe moved with his wife Virginia—who was 13 years old and also Poe’s cousin—to a double room on the second floor of a farmhouse at 215 W. 84th St. At the intersection of Broadway, then known as Bloomingdale Road, on Manhattan’s Upper West Side.

The area was still largely farmland, and Poe hoped to provide a respite for his wife, who was suffering from tuberculosis. It was also the place where Poe completed his most famous poem, “The Raven”.

The five-story building that stands today, dubbed Eagle Court, was built in 1925 and offers 128 rentals ranging from $2,100 for a studio to a one-bedroom penthouse with a private balcony, exposed brick walls, and spiral staircase for $3,600. Units feature high ceilings, ample closet space, a laundry room, and echoes of a spooky past.

Two large crow statues mark the entrance to the building along with a memorial plaque commemorating Poe.

So, if you’re dozing off on West 84th Street and suddenly someone gently knocks on your door to your room, it may not be the deliveryman, but “that gloomy, unappalling, awful, emaciated and ominous bird.”

‘Facts of life’

Off 85 West 3rd Street.
Fascinated: Poe wrote “The Facts in the M. Waldemar Case” at this West 3rd Street address.
Stefano Giovannini

Like any good New Yorker, after a mission in the uptown, Poe returned downtown in 1845 to 85 W Third Street, where he wrote The Facts in the M. Valdemar Case, a story about a charming man who puts a man into a hypnotic state moments before from death.

While the original building is “no more than ever,” New York University, which now operates the administrative portion of its legal program outside of this address, has recreated the original facade of the Poe House and marked the entrance with a sign explaining the history.

It’s a perfect historical match if you think about it – what could be more shocking than law school?

Poe lived at additional locations in what is now Greenwich Village, including the corner of Waverly Place and Sixth Avenue. While the building where he lived no longer exists, across the street on the corner of Waverly Place and Christopher Street, there is still the North Infirmary, a medical clinic and pharmacy that opened in 1827 in what was then the northernmost point in Manhattan, to which Poe frequented.

The original sign still marks the building, which had not been in use for three decades until earlier this month when it was announced that God’s love for us would turn it into housing for low-income people living with AIDS.

writer’s hideout

A bedroom inside 25th Ann Street.
The former Anne Street Evening Mirror home – the first newspaper to publish “The Raven” – is now called the Edgar House.

When he wasn’t writing horrific prose, Poe worked as a journalist for newspapers such as Evening Mirror, the paper that first published The Raven.

The newspaper was based at 25 Anne Street in the Financial District and Poe spent a considerable amount of time writing there.

In a rare development, the building somehow survived. It was converted into apartments in 1925 and then apartments in 2000.

Today, the building has been renamed Edgar House in reference to its history, with a transom plaque at the entrance.

The nine luxurious lofts have 11-foot windows, polished concrete floors, large wardrobes, and some with fireplaces. There’s nothing currently on the market there, but a three-bedroom, two-bathroom 2,200-square-foot unit recently sold for $2.5 million.

Burial place

Beginning with Virginia Bow on the outside of the 2640 Grand Concourse.
Poe and his wife Virginia Elisa Clem Poe (inset) moved to 2,640 Grand Concourse in the Bronx in 1846. She died of tuberculosis soon after.
Stefano Giovannini Alami Stock Photo

Poe last lived with his wife was an 1812 white clapboard cottage located on 3 acres of land in what is now 2,640 Grand Concourse in the Bronx, today called “Boo Park” and “Bow’s Cottage”.

Poe moved into the cottage in 1846 at a rent of $100 a year in what was then Westchester in an effort to give his sick wife more fresh air.

His efforts were valiant, but in vain, and Virginia died there in 1847. Poe wrote the poem

“Annabelle Lee” here, which tells the chilling story of the death of a beautiful woman.
Today, it’s the oldest Poe Museum in the United States and the writer’s last permanent home, according to Roger McCormack, director of education for the Bronx County Historical Society. It’s open to the public and boasts spooky attractions like his wife’s death bed and rocking chair.

When asked if he would like to live in Poe’s old cottage, McCormack said, unfazed (maybe even smitten with it?): “All Poe’s present-day homes exude Gothic charm, and it would be nice to live in them!”

favorite chase

Off 47 Bond Street.
This legendary building at 47 Pond houses Poe, PT Barnum, and a brothel.
Stefano Giovannini

Poe returned downtown to 47 Bond Street after his wife’s death. He lived on the second floor and drowned his sorrows in the tavern on the first floor. The building, which later housed PT Barnum and then a brothel, is now a rated Italian Mediterranean restaurant at Yelp 4.4, Il Boco.

Perhaps the most emotionally charged accommodation in Poe, ghost sightings have been reported over the years. There is a duplex occupying the second and third floors above the restaurant and the fourth and fifth floors each individual housing unit. The last sale on the building closed 15 years ago for $950,000.

“Poe’s writing in New York was heavily influenced by his environment. He was in the middle of a dense and dynamic scene with journalists and savvy critics.”

John Trish, Professor at the Warburg Institute, UK

Poe died in 1849, two years after his wife’s death, in a hospital in Baltimore. His death remains a mystery, perhaps greater than any he has drawn in his stories. A doctor ruled his death with “brain congestion” but many historians speculate that he was the victim of “collaboration” – election fraud by kidnapping, camouflaging and forcing the victim to vote multiple times by severe beatings – in which he was found dressed as a stranger. clothes. Of course, alcoholism might have affected him, too.

Although Poe eventually left New York, the city had always had a special attraction for him.
“Poe’s writings in New York were intensely influenced by his environment,” said John Trish, a professor at the Warburg Institute in the United Kingdom, who has published several papers on Poe. “He was in the middle of a dense and dynamic scene with shrewd journalists and critics.”

Poe never achieved enough fame to make a fortune in his life and all the places he lived were dips. But it’s almost poetic that he lived like so many New York writers today: navigating cheap flights on the outskirts of town.


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