Haunted New York –By Laura Kusnyer
279 Water St., 212-227-3344, Financial District, Manhattan In the film Gangs of New York, there are several scenes set in rowdy watering holes; at one bar in particular, the shelves hold pickling jars containing body parts. That tavern is said to be an homage to an earlier incarnation of the Bridge Caf√©. Since opening in 1794, the establishment has served as brothel, pirate bar, packing store, Hungarian restaurant, seafood restaurant and more. The body parts? That’s a reference to Ms. Gallus Mag, the 6-foot-tall Irish bouncer who would bite or cut off the ears of misbehaving patrons and pickle them for posterity on shelves above the bar.
One of NY’s Oldest Restaurants Haunted?
BRIDGE CAFE, GHOST, SIFF, HAUNTED, LAURA PENNACE, JASON STROMING
The Bridge Cafe in Lower Manhattan has been in business since 1794. It used to be a brothel in the 19th century. Lately restaurant owners have been hearing strange things.
WPIX CW11 Halloween Broadcast of New Yorks Most Haunted. (filmed at the Bridge Cafe)
Investigation: The Bridge Caf√© – New York, NY
Date of Investigation: 8/25/07
Investigators: Arthur Matos, Jason Stroming, Laura Pennace, James Bricks
On Saturday, August 25th, the EPIC team investigated the Bridge Caf√© in New York¬†City, NY. The Caf√© is the oldest surviving bar in New York City, and was once a¬†brothel. It was a favorite eating spot of former NYC mayor Ed Koch. EPIC is the¬†first paranormal investigative team to ever investigate this historic location,¬†which sits at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge on the Manhattan side.
Activity that is currently being reported involves moving shadows, the sound of¬†footsteps from the above floors, strange feelings of being watched, and the¬†smell of perfume or lavender, the source of which can never be adequately
The caf√© proper, which is a bar/restaurant, sits on the first floor of this¬†three-story wood frame building, which was built in the 1700’s on Manhattan’s¬†historic waterfront. The EPIC team set up its base of operations (or “safe
room”) in the main administrative office on the second floor. Also on this floor¬†are rooms that are currently used for liquor storage, as well as a changing room¬†for kitchen and wait staff. There is a stairwell that leads up to the third
floor, which used to house the actual brothel rooms. Today, the rooms are used¬†for storage for things such as liquor, extra chairs, and financial records. The¬†owner of the establishment gracious enough to allow us full access to the
building overnight, and once the kitchen and wait staff left, the only people in¬†the building were the four team members from EPIC. A total of five infrared¬†cameras, connected to the multi-channel DVR system, were used for this¬†investigation, with 1 positioned facing the main office hallway, 2 in the bar¬†area, and 2 more on the third floor, in the storage rooms. Three camcorders were¬†also set up, with one in the safe room, one in the second floor hallway, and one¬†on the third-floor storage room. A digital audio recorder, digital camera, and¬†35mm camera were also used by each team, as well as a Mini DV recorder to¬†document the investigation.
For this investigation, two teams were established. Team 1 consisted of Laura¬†and Jason, while Team 2 consisted of Jimmy and Artie. All video and audio¬†equipment started recording at 9:45pm.
Team 1 began by investigating the third floor brothel area. EMF sweeps were done¬†to record baseline readings in the rooms and hallway. The first EVP session was¬†conducted in the main storage room, and then continued out in the hallway which¬†connected all of the third floor rooms. Team 2 stayed behind in the safe room to¬†monitor the DVR and wireless audio.
After Team 1 concluded their investigation of the third floor, the cameras were¬†allowed to run. After approximately 30 minutes, Team 2 headed downstairs to the¬†bar area to start their investigation. Again, EMF sweeps were done, and a
lengthy EVP session was conducted.
After Team 2 finished, Team 1 then headed downstairs to investigate the bar area¬†as well. Once the EMF sweep was done and a short EVP session conducted, the¬†investigation ended.
Each Team took digital & 35mm photographs, and had a digital recorder in each¬†room they investigated.
During the investigation, the EPIC team did not experience anything unusual.¬†There were some strange sounds, but these were eventually all attributed to¬†noises coming from outside of the building. Because of the proximity to the
Brooklyn Bridge, noises would sometimes come through from outside.
As far as photographic and video evidence, again, nothing unusual was captured.¬†We had a number of dust orbs, but these were clearly dust, and not unexpected in¬†a building as old as the Bridge Caf√©. Lights were seen to be moving on the¬†walls, but these were easily explained as headlights from traffic on the bridge.
As far as the audio evidence is concerned, there were a few anomalies caught by¬†the team. Unfortunately, none of them are strong enough to be considered¬†evidence. In most instances there was noise coming from outside, so even though
there are some unusual sounds, they are not clear enough and therefore we have¬†not considered them fit for evidence.
The EPIC team found nothing that we could call unexplained. The night was¬†uneventful, as none of us had any personal experiences, and nothing showed up in¬†photographic, video or audio review. The building is old and historic, and the
food at the bar is fantastic, but we caught no evidence of anything paranormal.¬†But the stories persist, and we are hoping to go back to the Bridge Caf√© soon,¬†to conduct a follow up investigation.
Click below to see our video summary of the investigation.
March 1, 2005
Drinking with Sadie the Goat on Water Street
The approach to St. Patrick’s Day seems a good time for a short, random¬†history of drinking in New York, doesn’t it? Let’s start in 1869 with Sadie the¬†Goat, one of the hard-drinking maidens from¬†“Booty, Girl Pirates on the High Seas,” by Sara Lorimer.
Sadie was a regular on Water Street, the Fourth Ward’s main drag and a¬†favorite of sailors and those looking for underworld fun. A travel guide of¬†the day called it the most violent street on the continent; another warned¬†readers absolutely to steer clear after dark. The Fourth Ward Hotel kept a¬†trapdoor to dump corpses into the East River. The street had no shortage of¬†saloons and their unlicensed cousins, called “blind tigers,” which served the¬†locals, slumming gentry and the criminals who preyed on all alike. On the¬†corner of Water and Dover Streets was one of the roughest taverns of all, the¬†Hole-in-the-Wall, the favorite basement hangout of Sadie the Goat.
By far the scariest bouncer at the Hole-in-the-Wall was Gallus Mag – a¬†six-foot-plus Englishwoman with a truncheon tied to her wrist and a revolver¬†tucked in her belt. Mag had a unique way of dealing with rowdy drunks:¬†smacking the lout with her truncheon, dragging him to the door with his ear¬†held firmly in her teeth, and if she was in the mood, biting off the ear¬†before tossing its owner into the street. The ears were added to her¬†collection, which she kept in a pickling jar behind the bar. One spring night¬†Sadie ran afoul of Mag, and the next ear in the pickling jar was Sadie’s.
Gallus Mag and the Bridge Caf√©
If all this talk of death makes you long for a stiff drink, or perhaps a cup of coffee to clear your spooked head, visit the oldest food and drinking establishment in New York, the Bridge Caf√©. You won’t escape the ghosts, here, however: with so much history (it also used to be a brothel), the Bridge has had its fair share of opportunities for ghost stories to accumulate.
Built in 1794, the Bridge Caf√© was a stopping point for pirates, and also had one of the most famous bouncers in New York. Gallus Mag, an Englishwoman who stood more than six feet tall, was less than kind when throwing rowdy drunks out of the establishment; she’d drag an offender through the door with his ear in her teeth, and (depending on her mood) was known to bite off an ear or two and stash them in an old jar. Ms. Mag’s ghost is said to still haunt the caf√© today.