Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Cherry Hills: A Lost Neighborhood, Part ll

Cherry Hills
During the 1800s the Cherry Hills neighborhood and its tenement houses along the East River were the worst slum in New York City.

Crime and disease plagued this area that had once been an elite neighborhood where George Washington and John Hancock lived.

Within Cherry Hills sat a 3-room flat that many tried to live in but did not succeed. This flat in the late 1800s and early 1900s quickly became legendary in Cherry Hills for an entity that haunted it.

It was plagued by a violent poltergeist for 19 years. Several New York newspapers at the time documented this activity.

Twenty years before this haunting was first noticed a French woman lived in this flat with her husband. When her husband died it is said she was left desolate--both emotionally and financially.

In an act of desperation she took a clothesline and hung herself in the flat. It was believed that she was the entity that plagued a variety of families that moved in after her suicide.

This flat first became notorious within Cherry Hills when a tough longshoreman, “Jackie” Haggarty decided to test the rumors that something strange was happening.

The night he visited he heard noises and left the flat. In the hallway something thumped his eye hard. Left with a black eye it is said this incident shattered his tough reputation.


Tenement House
Housing was scarce in the Fourth Ward and several families despite the flat’s reputation moved in. The newspaper reports stated that most only stayed a few hours.

A couple by the name of Ryan moved in with their three children. In bed the first night they heard a loud racket. They all scrambled out of bed and watched as an unseen entity threw their furniture across the room.

The husband was punched in the face, his wife’s left eye was blackened and the children became ill. This it was said all happened within 6 minutes.

It had taken the family six hours to move in, it took them less than an hour to move their belongings out.

Other families found their furniture piled high and pictures that they had hung turned around.

Yet another resident of the flat, Mike Finnegan saw his heavy iron stove tip over. He
Cherry Hills Slum
moved out shortly after observing this strange sight.

As to whether this activity would have continued is not known for shortly after these incidents most of the Cherry Hills neighborhood was torn down partly because of all the disease and crime that plagued this block and partly because of the Brooklyn and Manhattan bridge construction.

Here is a link to a New York Times account of this haunting in March of 1900.

This East River, NYC Cherry Hills neighborhood should not be confused with the Albany, New York estate called Cherry Hills that is also haunted.

In Part l of Cherry Hills: A Lost Neighborhood, information about Cherry Hills' history is shared.

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