The East Village has lately been overrun by 7-11 chain stores. Whatever your opinion on this development, it’s impossible to think of the EV without mourning a little for those ghosts of its not-too-distant past. Ghosts of New York makes its living partly by running tours of the neighborhood (the rest of the time we visit West Village, Upper West Side, and other locales). We tend to spread the word of hauntings that stem from the distant past – the ghosts of Peter Stuyvesant and Gertrude Treadwell, for example. Rarely do we focus on modern ghosts. This isn’t because we have anything against them, nor is it because tales of gaslight New York just seem like easier tales to tell (after all, ghosts and Victoriana go hand in hand, don’t they?). No, the reason we don’t tell many modern ghost stories is because we haven’t got very many to tell.
This situation has to be remedied. A forgotten ghost story is worse than exorcism-- if we don't tell the story of ghosts or write about them or remember them in some fashion they disappear. And so we send out this appeal to our readers now to please contact us with any true, contemporary ghost stories they may have. We know there are scores of bartenders, shop owners, artists, squatters, and long-term EV residents who have these tales… they’ve been floating around in the ether for years, and we’ve heard a few ourselves, late at night over a few drinks. But we want them in writing now. That doesn’t mean you have to write them for us – just tell them to us, and we’ll do more writing than a medium doing the slate trick (if you don’t get that reference, congratulations, you don’t live in the late 19th century). But seriously – we’ll record them if let us.
Taking down these ghost stories isn’t just a matter of curiosity for us. It’s part of our local history, a unique history now being threatened by characterless chain stores. At some point, below the umpteenth Chase Bank or Duane Reade, there must be a basement. A basement full of artifacts, of spirits, of stories longing to escape. Please help us with this endeavor and get in touch with us via the contact info on Ghosts of NY. Through the stories of the dead we will keep the East Village alive.