The Federal-style house was built in 1817 by tobacco farmer James Brown, an African-American Revolutionary War hero rumored to have been an aide to George Washington.
A downstairs bar has existed since 1833. It’s supposedly haunted by the mischief-making ghost of a sailor named Mickey, who was killed there decades ago. Bootleggers, prostitutes, and smugglers were also rumored to be regulars.
Fact and myth always blur around a place like the Ear. But a plaque on the sidewalk notes a fascinating bit about the tavern’s past.
The house stands right at the edge of the Hudson River shoreline in colonial-era New York City.
Over the years, the rocky shore was filled in and extended about a block and a half west—until Monday night, when the Hudson came roaring back, powered by Hurricane Sandy.
“At Spring Street, the river waters carried over the east bank, moved across West Street, spread past Washington and Greenwich Streets and then most of the way to the street named for the river, Hudson,” writes Jim Dwyer in The New York Times.
“That is: the river moved 1,200 feet inland, nearly a quarter-mile.”
Tags: Ear Inn, Federal style houses New York City, haunted bars New York City, Hudson River original shoreline, Hurricane Sandy, James Brown House, New York in the Revolutionary War, New York taverns, Spring and Greenwich Streets