The Butcher of Tompkins Square Park

Twenty years ago, in August 1989, East Village police began hearing rumors of a gruesome crime: A person had been killed, the body dismembered and boiled into soup—then the soup fed to unsuspecting homeless people in Tompkins Square Park. 

700eastninthstreetShockingly, the rumors turned out to be true. That September, cops arrested Daniel Rakowitz, a 28-year-old park regular who carried a chicken on his shoulder and called himself a “marijuana guru.”

Rakowitz was charged with murdering and dismembering the body of his girlfriend, 26-year-old Monika Beerle. The murder was committed in Rakowitz’s tenement building at 700 Avenue C, on the corner of Ninth Street. 

RakowitzThe details are pretty lurid. Rakowitz left Beerle’s skull in a storage area at the Port Authority Bus Terminal (in a bucket of cat litter no less).

Though he denied killed Beerle, a Swiss resident studying dance who supported herself as a topless dancer (gritty old Billy’s Topless on 24th Street, according to some accounts), he admitted to chopping her corpse, bleaching her bones, and hiding her body.

In 1991, Rakowitz was found not guilty by reason of insanity. He was sent to a maximum-security psychiatric facility on Ward’s Island, where he still lives today.

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19 Responses to “The Butcher of Tompkins Square Park”

  1. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    The address is in the 100s not 700 and now it’s probably very expensive, out of reach for most of us.

  2. mykola (mick) dementiuk Says:

    Also found this

    http://www.thevillager.com/villager_59/butcheroftompkinssq.html

  3. Tom Says:

    the address is correct – i leved across the street at the time – it is 700 east 9th street

  4. eden Says:

    Yes, the address and building are correct. I was in that building several times.
    Probably is very expensive now though..

  5. BR Says:

    anybody else think this guy has a strong resemblance to Christian Bale?

  6. Barbara Says:

    Talk about having a flashback: I lived on St Marks & A during this time, and I remember the rumors going around. Was so disturbing they turned out to be true. Made me think: Uh, I think it’s time to leave NYC. :)

  7. lynz Says:

    Anyone know the apartment #?????? I am moving in there next week….

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  9. mila Says:

    it was the corner apartment on either the second or the third floor. i know, because i went to see the aptmnt and paid the crooked super, who acted “agent”, a deposit of $750 dollars. it was a bargain (for a three bedroom) because it was disgusting ( kitchen full of hair, me and my future roommate thought they had kept afhgan dogs or something…) and messy bc the original tenant supposedly had left for switzerland in a hurry.. turned out the super had known what had happened all along and he was trying to make a buck on renting the aptmnt to another dumb foreign student (that would be me…). it took almost a month before we (through the news!) found out what had happened. and although me and my roommate for about a day insisted that we still wanted the aptment, it was closed off for a long time and the local occult types hung out outside in the street doing some mumbojumbo/devilworshipping. it was creepy. and we never got our securitydeposit back from the super, and within a year he got arrested for something else…

  10. Tim Says:

    I lived in this building at the time, but did not find out about this whole thing until after I moved out. I lived with my roomate Reggie Alan. We lived on the top floor (5th?). Anyway if you look at the photo of the building it was the left view (9th St. side), top floor – all the way on the left was my bedroom. Half of the building was burnt-out, not sure if it ever got renovated. At the time Reggie and I worked at High Tech Mex, Mexican Restaurant on University Place. I was a Bartender there. Any way, I remember that guy. I remember him because he looked like Jesus. When I would walk into the building, I always wondered what that smell was.

  11. J.P. Beladino Says:

    I was staying with my girlfriend in the apartment upstairs and across the hall at the time. She used to smoke pot with him and she carried around one of his little legalize pot pamphlets. I had only met him a few times. He seemed like just another pot smoking hippie. After it all happend the people in the nieghborhood broke into the apartment past the flowers, candles and police tape and set it on fire to get rid of the evil spirits. I don’t remember her but I think it was acctually her apartment and she just let him live with her. It was a long time ago and that’s about all I can remember.

  12. NEIL Says:

    I REMEMBER GORGEOUS HUGE TITTED TONYA IN HER SHINY BLACK STILLETTO HEELS & LITTLE GIRL VOICE WHO DANCED AT BILLY’S TOPLESS IN 1989!!! I WANTED TO MARRY HER & MAKE PASSINATE LOVE TO HER!!!

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  14. Jade Says:

    My mother lived next door to him when this happened. About 2 days later they had a horrible smell in the room. My mother thought it was a rat died in between the walls, but it was a human.

  15. STEVEN NAUHEIMER Says:

    Steve says…..may that dude rot. toactually kill someone and boil the body parts for soup??? Totally sick and 20 or more years later one of the most bizarre stories to be heard in NYC.

  16. NEIL Says:

    I REMEMBER READING THAT RAKOWITZ WAS HOMELESS & MONIKA TOOK HIM IN & 2 WEEKS LATER MADE HER INTO SOUP!!! I WILL BET IF HE WAS A NICE CLEAN CUT GUY, SHE WOULD NOT HAVE WANTED ANYTHING TO DO WITH HIM!!!! BELIEF ME, MILLIONS OF WOMEN AROUND THE WORLD WOULD LOVE TO GO TO BED WITH RAKOWITZ TO THIS DAY!!!!

  17. Luis guzman Says:

    I lived in the park when that happen and i remember like it was today. I eat from that soup and i’m sorry to say it was one of the best soup i ever tasted.

  18. Elis Says:

    I hope this guy never comes out of the psychiatric ward. I was a teenager when he used to come around my job and talk to me about being “Jesus”, also told me about his 14 year old girlfriend. I thought there was something wrong with him but I did not know it was this bad. I saw him in the news when he got arrested for killing his girlfriend , I said all my God he could have done something like that to me.

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