Over the years of I've blogged about the ghosts of NYC, and how NYC is and always has been, in some ways, a ghost town.
Recently it's felt like a literal ghost town -- COVID-19 has emptied out the city's streets in ways that were previously unimaginable outside of a horror movie.
But in a city that's always being reborn, constantly changing, evolving, re-imagining itself, a perennial busy body, the relics, the parts of its past that still exist, still endure, are still here -- at least for a while -- reminds us of a previous time, an older city, a different world -- a city that, while mostly gone, isn't as completely gone as people might think.
Two most additions to the Mr NYC Ghost Canon:
There's the story of a woman who lived in Soho for almost 50 years, supporting herself in odd jobs and selling amateur crafts. She was a regular lady, the kind of middle-class NYC denizen that used to be able to live in Soho no problem, now replaced by the gentrifiers, the uber-wealthy. In 1972 she bought her loft for $15,000 -- and just sold it for $2.4 million. Yes, she's rich now, her loft a goldmine that will fund her later years. But it's gone forever, and all that she has left are the memories of it -- the ghosts of her past and of the city's past. It's amazing that she held out for as long as she did! She's moved out -- but the ghosts will endure.
Then, there's the Ottoman Empire. NYC is, of course, famous for its immigrant communities, many of which have come to define certain neighborhoods: Greeks and Egyptians in Astoria, Chinese and Italians in Lower Manhattan, Russians in Brighton Beach, Koreans in the East Thirties, Germans and Hungarians on the far Upper East Side, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans in East Harlem and the South Bronx, Eastern Europeans in what is now the East Village, the Hasidim and Orthodox Jews in Williamsburg. Turkish immigrants have never had quite such a defined geographical presence in NYC but, as this article points out, the Turkish imprint in NYC is quite strong, the long gone Ottoman Empire still present in NYC -- you just have to know where to look for it and understand its history.
The number of ghosts in NYC is forever unknowable.