Halloween is upon us, but the city teems with spooky buildings year-round. The most luxurious is perhaps The Dakota, an Upper West Side co-op that has purportedly been haunted for decades. As early as the 1960s, residents reported seeing a girl in Victorian-era clothing, smiling and waving from the windows.
Furniture and large objects have allegedly moved of their own accord, and even John Lennon claimed to have seen a ghostly woman crying in the hallways during his time as a resident. Lennon himself was murdered in front of the building in 1980. To this day, his spirit has been said to appear in the archway of The Dakota’s southern entrance.
While truly haunted properties apparently do exist (and can be notoriously difficult to sell), the Select Spaces team has curated these five spooky homes on the market now for buyers looking to set the mood this Halloween.
Strawberry fields forevermore
1 West 72nd Street | 3 BR | $10.9 million
This apartment at The Dakota pulsates with centuries’ worth of psychic energy. I’m not recommending this, but if you’re looking to summon a spirit on Halloween, this is the place to do it. Party-goers who — foolishly — don’t believe in ghosts can bask in the elegant eeriness of the living room. Ornate archways, crown molding and beveled ceilings are just some of the details that immerse you in a realm of old-timey spookiness.
Wander into the formal dining room and you’ll find yourself surrounded on all sides by wallpaper reminiscent of the carpeting in the Overlook Hotel. The entire space has the foreboding elegance of Dracula’s mansion. One can imagine the Count himself at the head of the long table, licking his fangs at the poor soul sitting across from him.
Those who dare to disturb the spirits can hold a seance in one of the secluded, chandeliered bedrooms –– just be advised that not all ghosts are nice, and the windows are completely noise-cancelling. Best practice is to turn off the lights, light a candle and close the curtains, but if you’re feeling dangerous, leave them open. You never know who you might see outside the window.
3 Riverside Drive | 9 BR | $20 million
How did the dilapidated mansion become the blueprint for haunted houses? The answer lies in understanding the socioeconomic situation that gave rise to the trope.
By the late 19th century, the aristocracy had more or less fallen out of favor and a new class of wealthy industrialists had emerged. In an ostentatious display often associated with new money, they built imposing, ornate mansions. The Gilded Age ended, though, and The Great Depression came, leading many to abandon their grand manses. The decay of these once-opulent homes made them the perfect setting for horror stories.
Shoot your next short film in the beautiful ruins of 3 Riverside Drive. This palatial New York City landmark flawlessly embodies the dark, almost baroque aesthetic of the haunted mansion in gothic horror. The difference is that this one is anything but abandoned. Careful restoration has been underway for years, but there’s still work to be done.
The rest of the home is already outfitted with modern amenities like a movie theater and basketball court, but interior demolition has left a gorgeously decrepit sub-grade space, with intricate wrought-iron railings and staircases that seem to go on forever. Do what you will with the space, but not before having at least one costume party, photoshoot or dark ritual.
40 Broad Street | 2 BR | $8.9 million
This penthouse on40 Broad Street is the 21st century’s answer to the now-expensive Victorian haunted houses of yore. What this space may lack in bedrooms and square footage it more than makes up for in the elevated grittiness of its interior design. With its brick walls and wooden ceiling beams, the right lighting and fog machines can transform this apartment into an abandoned warehouse, haunted by the ghosts of factory workers past.The interior is a pastiche of reclaimed materials from all over the world. A free-standing sink is paired with blue stone tiles from Belgium in the 1930s. Authentic Art Deco stainless steel once belonged to a theater in Hawaii. Even the deep, dark floors hail from the Portuguese embassy in Paris. A black bathtub is delightfully eerie enough — what if I told you this one was carved entirely from a single stone?
While nothing beats getting lost in the corners and corridors of a labyrinthine mansion, the open floorplan of a penthouse lends itself to a different kind of Halloween party. Think fewer cobwebs, and more strobe lights and glowsticks. If you feel a little dead the morning after, the sauna next to the other bathtub is sure to bring you back to life.
Trad goth grandeur
384 9th Street | 7 BR | $3.9 million
Anyone can dim the lights, start the fog machines and start blasting Bauhaus to a room full of goths and call it a party. The authenticity of a Halloween party lies in the bones of the house itself — its skeleton, if you will.
Blood-red paint and severe beams of black line the walls of the three-storied 384 9th Street. This historic Park Slope townhouse practically begs for a period-accurate spooky soiree. Original antique fixtures like the chandelier in the living room, decorative fireplaces and the built-in bar hearken to the Gothic grandeur of eras past.
A carved wooden staircase runs throughout the apartment, and equally ornate doors lead to the rooftop, which offers views of even more historic properties in the area. Details like these can’t be bought at Party City, making this truly historic listing about as close to a real haunted house as you can get.
141 State Street | 6 BR | $8.9 million
Suppose the Delta variant has you planning a more intimate gathering for Halloween. Look no further than 141 State Street. Greet your visitors at the front door, then lead them up to the 5th floor. This gut-renovated brownstone has an attic big enough for you and your coven, but small enough to, well, still feel like an attic. It is said that the veil between the material world and the spiritual realm is never as thin as it is on Halloween night. This small, dark space has floor-to-ceiling shelving to showcase all the spellbooks, crystals and potions a witch needs to practice her craft.
The outdoor space is another Covid-friendly venue for some nighttime necromancy. Cast spells by moonlight in the garden, protected by a degree of privacy that’s difficult to come by, but essential to the process.