Nestled away down a side street in New York City’s West Village can be found the One If By Land, Two If By Sea. One of the many restaurants in New York where a person can dine in elegance and possibly have a brush with the supernatural. According to staff and patrons alike, this upscale restaurant is haunted by no less than twenty ghosts, and some of these phantoms are figures from the birth of our nation.
Throughout its long history as a fine dining establishment, those who work and eat here have reported encounters with shadowy entities and ghostly beings. Plates and silverware are inexplicably known to suddenly raise off shelves in full view of people. They then float around the room as if guided by an unseen intelligence. Bone chilling cold spots seem to follow wait staff as they serve customers. Due to this unnerving activity, several employees have left in the middle of shift with no explanation. While this activity may be unnerving to say the least, it is the apparitions that some folks find truly disquieting.
The apparition of a tall, gaunt man in 18th century garb is regularly seen lingering near the fireplace. No one can say with any certainty who he was in life. However, he appears to be congenial as he greets people with a warm smile and a friendly nod before fading away.
A second frequently witnessed spirit is that of a lovely young lady who floats up the stairs and never comes down. It’s commonly believed she was a former patron who tripped on her gown and tumbled down the stairs. When employees and patrons came to her aid, it was too late. In the fall she broke her neck and was dead before she hit the bottom of the stairs.
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If a floating woman and a vanishing 18th century gentleman isn’t enough, there’s a table that seats a rowdy bunch of ghosts. On several occasions, management responded to patron complaints of a table full of a rowdy, drunken group of men. When management approached the table, the group of men abruptly vanished leaving behind a table covered in spilled alcohol.
Of all the ghosts said to lurk in the One If By Land, none is more famous than Aaron Burr. Burr, served as Vice President under Thomas Jefferson, third President and author of the Declaration of Independence. But it wasn’t his turn as Vice President that cemented his place in the history books. Rather, it was a deadly duel with his political rival and sworn enemy, Alexander Hamilton.
One night while enjoying a meal in the company of friends, he overheard Hamilton insult his honor during a drunken rant. The next day, Burr challenged Hamilton to an early morning pistol duel. Upon receiving the challenge, Hamilton was astonished. Hamilton, had no recollection of the slight and did everything he could to dissuade Burr. Burr of course would have none of it. His honor demanded to be satisfied.
On a hot morning on July 11, 1804 both Hamilton and Burr met in a field in Greenwich Village. After the two men walked twenty paces, two shots rang out and Hamilton was mortally wounded. Hamilton made an effort to hang onto life, but the next day he succumbed to his injuries and died. As the saying goes, the rest is history.
Today, the apparition of Aaron Burr has been seen walking about the restaurant with his beloved daughter, Theodosia. Theodosia, resided in the building when it was her father’s carriage house. The pair appear to be making the rounds as they inspect the handiwork of restaurant staff. And if they see something they don’t like, they are not shy in making their displeasure known. Many a staff have had to go back and set places again just to make the ghostly duo happy.
If you’re ever in New York City’s West Village, and looking for a fine dining experience, look no further than the One If By Land, Two If By Sea. A restaurant where the history of America collides with hauntings.
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