I had hoped to give you a couple of first-hand reports on two spooky-looking things to do in New York for Halloween, but sometimes even my plans get waylaid. But I still want to do both and they are available after Halloween too, so here they are — try them out and let me know what you think.
The first one takes you into Williamsburg and is called Madame Morbid's Trolley Tours. The converted trolley is made to look and feel like a Victorian carriage. Be forewarned though Rockawayites, there is no alcohol, and no bathroom on the trolley. But there is fun! The trolley takes you through tales of Murder Inc, ghosts, and alien abductions on your hour-and-a-half tour of Brooklyn. It costs about $50 and leaves you back on the north side of Williamsburg, where there are plenty of bars to calm your fears of ghouls and goblins. Get there early though. I got there literally three minutes late and missed the trolley, not a good feeling. And be aware that parking in that neighborhood is like trying to find street parking in Neponsit on a summer weekend. So, give yourself time. You can get tickets online at madamemorbid.com.
The second one is in an area of New York now known as Nolita, meaning North of Little Italy. Ridiculous right? I am thinking of telling people I live in SoRBB, or South of Rockaway Beach Blvd., think it will stick? Anything to increase the real estate appeal. Anyway, in Nolita there sits one of the most beautiful and storied churches in New York, Old St. Patrick’s Cathedral on the corner of Prince and Mott Streets. Be aware, parking ain’t so easy there either. The Cathedral was built over 200 years ago and has a great old cemetery in its backyard. The history of Old St. Pat’s mirrors, in some respects, the history of the Irish in New York and the fights between the nativists and the Irish Catholics at the time. The website for Old St. Pat’s has a terrific history of those times, and if you read it before visiting, it will give you a feel for what will surround you as you walk through the front gates.
But the Halloween magic here is in a candlelight tour of the catacombs below the Cathedral. Given by Tommy’s New York, the tours cost about $35 and takes you into the underworld of the basilica, providing a rich history of this northern boundary of the old Five Points. While the catacombs are not exactly like the ones in Rome, they do represent some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan. It has been reported that a vault is currently available for $7 million. Quite a bargain! If you do your tour around dinnertime, you will be rewarded by being close to Little Italy and in this way can combine the best of both worlds: an Irish Ghost Tour and an Italian meal. You can get tickets at https://tommysnewyork.com.
Remember folks, it’s Halloween, time to visit a cemetery and pay our respects. And to plagiarize an old Yogi Berra-ism, if you don’t visit them, they won’t visit you! Happy Halloween.