The ghosts that haunt a Hell’s Kitchen tavern

Landmarktavern2When the Landmark Tavern opened in 1868 at 11th Avenue and 46th Street, the Hudson River was just one block over (no 12th Avenue in those days).

The modest saloon catered to hungry and thirsty dockworkers and merchant seaman in what used to be a mostly Irish immigrant neighborhood.

Through the 1980s it was a favorite of the Westies, a violent Irish gang.

Now, it’s a hangout for locals and tourists. And ghosts, apparently. Rumor has it that three in particular rattle around the old mahogany bar and the upstairs rooms.

Landmarktavern1936One is the spirit of George Raft, “the Hollywood tough guy who grew up in Hell’s Kitchen,” wrote John Strausbaugh in a wonderful 2007 New York Times article.

“His ghost is said to haunt the bar, along with that of a Confederate Civil War veteran who, knifed in a fight, staggered up to the second floor to die in a bathtub that’s still there.”

A 19th century child haunts the Landmark as well. “The ghost of an Irish immigrant girl who died in her bed wanders the third floor,” wrote Strausbaugh.

A 2000 writeup in New York magazine adds even more detail: that the little girl came to New York during the potato famine and died of cholera.

The Landmark isn’t the only old-school tavern haunted by dead 19th century New Yorkers. A sailor named Mickey supposedly knocks around this Soho saloon.

[Bottom photo: Landmark Tavern in 1936, from the NYPL Digital Gallery]

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