Boroughs of the Dead

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Boroughs of the Dead

Boroughs of the Dead is a boutique tour company devoted to strange, dark and unusual walking tours of New York City. Our unique tours are meticulously written and researched one-of-a-kind creations led by expert guides. We are a locally-owned, independently operated business. Visit our Tours page for more info & tickets.

New York City’s Best Ghost Tours

Take a tour with the city’s best-reviewed dark and ghostly walking tour company. We’re the only ghost tour company in New York City with a Trip Advisor Certificate of Excellence, and the only one to offer haunted and ghostly walking tours in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens! Visit our Calendar to purchase tickets.

“Absolutely phenomenal. This is no stale, rehearsed walk.”

MANHATTAN

Greenwich Village, West Village & Lower Manhattan.

  • The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour

    Meeting Point: In front of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, 131 East 10th Street (Tour ends in the West Village, near Washington Square Park). This tour is approximately 2 hours in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • Haunted-House-in-NYCAll killer, no filler. This 2-hour tour presents the very best true ghost stories from the East Village and Greenwich Village. All ghost stories on this carefully researched route have been painstakingly hand-picked by your veteran tour guide to bring you only the scariest, strangest, and most consistently verified ghost stories in New York City. Recommended for those who want only the best and are willing to walk for it. Photo courtesy of the Merchant’s House Museum.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • The Weird West Village: From Poe to Lovecraft

    Meeting Point: Sullivan and W 3rd St., north east corner. This tour is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • On this tour you’ll wander the labyrinthine streets of the West Village and find out where Edgar Allan Poe wrote his dark tales and where H.P. Lovecraft found inspiration for his stories, hear tales of ghosts, poets, occultists, dissolute patriots, and more! Forgotten histories and urban lore abound on this haunting, mysterious, and wonderfully weird stroll through one of the most charmingly strange places in the city. For anyone interested in the unknown, the occult, and the weird side of history, this tour is a must.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door


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  • Forgotten Dark Histories of Lower Manhattan

    Meeting Point: 1 Bowling Green, New York, NY 10004, in front of the National Museum of the American Indian (Tour ends by City Hall) This tour is approximately 1 hour 45 minutes minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • Sugar HouseYou’ll learn all about the ghastly, weird, often uncanny, and shockingly dark history of Lower Manhattan as this macabre walking tour wends its way through the oldest parts of New York City. See haunted taverns and gloomy graveyards. Hear surprisingly horrific stories of colonial and early New York, with a few ghostly tales mixed in for good measure. The perfect tour for history lovers and fans of the paranormal and all things creepy and strange.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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BROOKLYN & QUEENS

Outer-borough spookiness for those who dare venture further afield.

  • Haunted Brooklyn Heights


    Meeting point: Meet at the north-west corner of Court Street and Pacific Street. (Half a block south of Trader Joe’s.) This tour is approximately 1hr 30minutes minutes in duration and 1.3 miles in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • Take a stroll among the graceful old homes of one of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhoods… but don’t let their sedate charms fool you. Nestled within these dwellings are a wealth of gory, ghastly, haunted, and horrific tales. Let Boroughs of the Dead guide you to the frightening sites of dreadful stories that inspire terror in those who pass them after dark.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • Green-Wood Cemetery: Murder & Mayhem, Scandal & Spiritualism

    Offered throughout the Halloween season in October 2015.

    Meeting Point: Green-Wood Cemetery main gates. 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232 Subway: R to 25th St. This tour is approximately 1 hr 45 minutes minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather or cemetery closure. Note: this tour requires somewhat strenuous, hilly walking.

  • tickets_3See the hidden gems and strange secrets of New York’s foremost Victorian cemetery. With a focus on the scandalous and lesser-known inhabitants of Green-Wood, on this tour you’ll see the final resting places of femmes fatales, revolutionaries, spiritualists, gangsters, artists and murderers.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

    $5 of your ticket fee is donated to the Green-Wood Historic Fund

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  • Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria

    Meeting Point: Meeting point will be released to ticket holders.

  • Astoria is a pleasant, bustling, vibrant neighborhood — but it also has a dark and lurid history with its fair share of ghosts. Its shadowy past is filled with tragic Hollywood film stars, voodoo, potter’s fields, grisly murders, poltergeists, hidden treasure, and deadly waters. Discover these unsettling tales with “Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria,” a 2-hour stroll that visits some lesser-known historical sites and glorious Victorian mansions of Old Astoria Village, and reveals these unsettling tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past.

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    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

SEASONAL & SPECIALTY TOURS

  • Ghosts of Christmas Past

    Presented every year in December
    Meeting Point: In front of St. Mark’s Church in the Bowery, East 10th Street and 2nd Avenue. This tour is approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • nast-santa-claus-1861This annual holiday tour presents the very best true ghost stories from the East Village and Greenwich Village, with a special seasonal focus on Christmas ghosts. Discover why the Victorians loved to tell ghost stories at Christmas. Learn where Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol in 1867 and how Washington Irving saved Christmas. See some of NYC’s genuinely haunted homes, and hear the very best true ghost stories from the East Village and Greenwich Village, all with a delightful Christmas twist!

  • Poe’s Greenwich Village

    Meeting Point: 85 W 3rd St. between Thompson and Sullivan This tour is approximately 90 minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

    This tour is perfect for the hardcore Poe fan who wants to take it to the next level. See our write-ups in Rue Morgue and Literary Manhattan.

  • PoeThis 90-minute literary and historical walking tour steps into the life of Edgar Allan Poe’s Greenwich Village of the 1840s. Visit the site of three of his former homes, trace a path into the past to gaslight-era Washington Square Park, learn of his contemporary rivals and admirers, and see where he wrote some of his most famous works. Interweaving some of his most famous tales with Greenwich Village’s macabre secret histories, this tour is guaranteed to delight fans of Poe’s literary grotesques.

    This tour runs twice a year, in January and October, or by request.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

  • The Magic and Mysticism of Central Park

    Meeting point: Meet at the northeast corner of W 72nd Street and Central Park West, on the park side. This tour is approximately 1hr 45 minutes in duration and 1.3 miles in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • Central Park has as many secrets to share as it has acres. Among its sweeping vistas are hidden traces of the 19th century’s transcendentalism and spiritual revivals, echoed in the landscape aesthetics of the park. Join actress and bestselling author Leanna Renee Hieber on a transportative journey through the city’s crown jewel, drinking in the endless magic of a space rich in mystical imagery and spiritual symbolism.

    This tour typically runs May through November, or by request.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

  • Ghosts of the Titanic

    Presented every year in April
    Meeting Point: The south side of Astor Place, in front of Cooper Union school (the big brown building with the large steps and portico). Take the 6 train to Astor Place or the N/R trains to 8th St. NYU. This tour is approximately 1hr 45minutes minutes in duration and 1.3 miles in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • TitanicSmithsonian34460_copy_crop-150x150Join us as we seek out the lost spirits of the Titanic. Let us lead you from Greenwich Village to the Hudson River as we tell tales of spectral sailors, waterfront gangsters, pirates, murderers, poets, and other lost souls. We’ll show you where survivors of the Titanic were brought ashore in that cold April of 1912, and share macabre, sorrowful tales of the watery deep as we remember the Titanic’s tragic and glorious story, and how it is uniquely connected to New York City.

  • Murder, Scandal, and Vice: Crime & Corruption in 19th Century New York

    Meeting Point: South end of City Hall Park, by the fountain. This tour is approximately 1 hr 45 minutes minutes in duration and one mile in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • hooking1Life in 19th Century New York was filled with murder, corruption, and vice of all flavors. This 90-minute walking tour examines some of old Gotham’s most brutal and infamous crimes, some still unsolved, all set against the backdrop of a bustling city that seethed with scandal. From the lowlifes of the Five Points to the tragic women of McGurk’s Suicide Hall, we’ll explore the shadiest, tawdriest, and most notorious stories of 19th century New York.

    Please note that we are currently only offering this tour as a private tour.

  • Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerism: A Medical History Tour

    Meeting point: Meet at the southernmost entrance to City Hall Park (at Broadway and Park Row) on the pathway just a few feet east of the Visitor Information Kiosk. This tour is approximately 2 hours in duration and 2 miles in length. Runs rain or shine, except in cases of severely inclement weather.

  • “Museums, Medicine, and Mesmerism” is a historical walking tour through the trends, trials, and many errors of 19th century medicine in New York City. From spectacles and fads to riots and epidemics, the city had a wide variety of experiences when it came to the human body and its many ailments. This 2-hour historical walking tour takes you to the long-forgotten sites where urban history and the human body intersect. You’ll learn all about quack doctors and their patent medicines, the power of magnetism and “the water cure,” the city’s greatest public health challenge, and some of the strangest cases in New York City’s medical history. 

    This tour currently runs by request or special arrangement only.

    $30 in advance, $35 at the door

What is “Boroughs of the Dead?”

Boroughs of the Dead is a unique walking tour company devoted to the city’s dark secrets, hidden histories, ghost stories, and forgotten tales. Our expert guides are devoted to the craft of macabre storytelling and historical accuracy in equal measure. As for the name, it comes from the nickname for the borough of Queens (because it has so many cemeteries). But one can look at the entire city as a place where the dead outnumber the living, where uncanny tales cannot be explained, and where things go bump all night long… these are the Boroughs of the Dead…

Who are your guides?

Founder and owner Andrea Janes is the author of BOROUGHS OF THE DEAD: New York City Ghost Stories, the book that inspired this company. The book is a work of fiction, but in the course of her research, she discovered the city was a wealth of ghostly, gory stories, and decided she wanted to share them with the world. Andrea is also the author of the YA novel GLAMOUR, and several short horror stories.

Leanna Renee Hieber is an actress, playwright, and award-winning bestselling author of multiple Historical Fantasy series for adults and teens, including the Strangely Beautiful saga, the Magic Most Foul saga and the Eterna Files saga from Tor/Forge. Most of her books are set in Victorian New York and all of her work deals with the supernatural, paranormal, Gothic and fantastical.

SJ Costello is an illustrator and history enthusiast with a fondness for sea shanties, sideshows, and the supernatural. She has been on several paranormal investigations both in the US and the UK, and is always curious about the possibility of ghostly experiences. SJ also leads tours at the Lower East Side Tenement Museum when not leading tours with Boroughs of the Dead. In her spare time, she works on her in-progress graphic novel, Going To Weather, a 19th century nautical drama.

Marie Carter grew up in Scotland near Edinburgh, a city bubbling with ghost stories. Her father was a bus tour guide in Edinburgh and he would often drive her around town quizzing her on historical facts. She now lives in Astoria, Queens and is extremely excited to be sharing dark and ghoulish historical stories with you. She’s the author of The Trapeze Diaries and the editor Word Jig: New Fiction from Scotland.

Riley Kellogg is a native New Yorker with a lifelong love of the city’s hidden histories, and of the bizarre, ghostly, and unexplainable. She holds an MA in Religion from Columbia University, and is researching a book on spiritualists and other religious outliers in American history. Growing up as an actress on the New York stage she learned the joy of entertaining and discovered a flair for storytelling; she is delighted to be combining these interests in leading tours of the macabre.

Do You Wear Costumes?

Nope! Whether clad in Victorian black or simply wearing those newfangled denim trousers everyone’s talking about, our guides wear whatever they would normally wear. We feel that sticking with our personal style keeps things true to our vision, so that’s what we do. While there are plenty of good tours featuring capes and costumes, that’s just not our particular preference.

Which tour do you recommend?

If you like true-crime or you’re a history buff, you might like our historical true-crime tours: Murder, Scandal, and Vice: Crime and Corruption in 19th Century New York and Green-Wood Cemetery: Off the Map. Both of these tours pass by the tombs and tales of “the good and the great,” and focus instead on the poor, the notorious, and the scandalous. If you have a literary bent or are a fan of Edgar Allan Poe, we can recommend Edgar Allan Poe’s Greenwich Village, a walk through the poet’s main stomping grounds in the 1840s. (Hint: pair it with a visit to the Poe cottage in the Bronx, which is only about 30 minutes away on the D train.)

If you do believe in spooks, we can recommend The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour. Each stop has been carefully selected based on several years’ research and experience leading tours in the West Village and Greenwich Village. We’ve taken the highlights from all those ghost walks and melded them into one top-notch two hour ghost tour. Finally, Dark Histories of Lower Manhattan wends its way through Lower Manhattan — one of the oldest and most haunted areas in the city — and features a lot of history along with its ghost stories.

Ghosts of the Titanic remains ever popular, though we only offer it once a year, on April 14th and/or 15th. If you just can’t wait til then, we do offer private tours of our Titanic walk, or any of our ghost walks. Feel free to blend and customize routes as well. We are always happy to craft a specialized ghost walk based on your favorite themes, eras, and interests.

Do You Offer Private, Group, or Customized Tours?

Yes. Feel free to blend and customize routes as well. We are always happy to craft a specialized ghost walk based on your favorite themes, eras, and interests.

What If I Have A Suggestion for a Tour?

Email us! We’d love to hear your ideas!

 

Are These Tours Suitable for Children?

Boroughs of the Dead ghost tours and true crime tours cover topics that are “dark” and may be potentially disturbing in nature. Potential topics may include death, including  the death of children and animals; general violence; gang violence; riots; slavery; prostitution; murder; piracy and illegal/criminal activities; drugs, alcohol and illicit substances; rape; abortion; war; torture; dismemberment; insanity; disease; discussions of the afterlife and spirit world; and grave-robbing. Worse, they contain positively lethal amounts of history. Children under 12 will likely be bored, scared, or both bored and scared. Nobody wants that. Just think of these tours like a PG-13 movie and use your judgment before buying tickets.

How Much “Walking” Does This Walking Tour Have Anyway?

If you are elderly, injured, or have trouble walking, bear in mind that most of these tours entail about 1.2 miles of walking in a roughly two-hour period. Only take on what you can handle. The Green-Wood Cemetery and Central Park tours are not recommended for those who have trouble on steep or hilly areas, contain some stairs, and are not recommended for anyone with a stroller. All of our other tours take place on NYC streets and sidewalks and are wheelchair accessible (please be advised however that the Brooklyn Heights tour contains some steep hills and narrow sidewalks).

Do we go inside anywhere?

As with most city walking tours, all of our stories are told in outdoor areas in public places such as parks and sidewalks. Many of the stories told on our tours concern private homes, museums and historic houses, cemeteries, and other areas with limited public access; as such our stories are told on the sidewalks nearby or in front of these places. Very few ghost tours in the city actually go inside any of the locations for the reasons mentioned above. We never enter any areas illegally or without permission.

Are there rest stops?

Most of our tours are under two hours, therefore there are no rest stops or breaks on the tour.

How Do I Buy Tickets?

Simply go to the Calendar of public tours, select the date and time of the tour you want, and click to register and purchase tickets.

Do I Have To Buy in Advance? Can’t I just Show Up?

Advance purchase will guarantee your spot on the tour. This is important to ensure you are not disappointed in the event you arrive to a tour that is already at capacity. (See below for more on our maximum allowable number of customers.) Also, if fewer than four people sign up for a tour, it may not run. If you don’t register, I’ll never know you wanted to take my tour. How lonely and sad would that be?

How Many Customers Do You Have Per Tour?

We keep our group sizes small. Normally our groups range from 10 – 15 people, with slightly higher numbers in October. We cap our group sizes at 20 people maximum (25 in park and cemetery tours) to ensure a high quality experience for everyone.

What Are Your Cancellation and Refund Policies?

Tours are only canceled in the case of extreme weather conditions or severe tour guide illness. Light rain or passing showers is not considered extreme. Hurricanes, blizzards, Nor’easters, hail, life-threatening lightning, and extremely heavy, prolonged rains are considered “extreme” weather. Weather-related updates will be posted on our Twitter and Facebook pages if it looks ominous outside. You can also call me on the day of the tour for an update. No refunds or rain checks will be given if a tour is listed as running.

Our tickets are non-refundable; however, if you cancel at least 48 hours prior to the tour, you may take a rain check to use on a future tour (subject to availability). No refunds or rain checks will be given in cases of cancellations with fewer than 48 hours’ notice provided, or in the case of no-shows (defined as arriving ten minutes or more past the stated tour start time).

In the event that a tour is canceled due to weather or tour guide illness, you are invited to take any other tour at your convenience (subject to availability). You may also get a full refund if that is what you prefer.

Tours will also be canceled if fewer than four people register in advance. In this case, you will be guaranteed a spot on a future tour, or a full refund.

Are your ghost tours scary?

The goal of our tours isn’t to produce a momentary sensation of fear but rather to communicate deeply unsettling stories that will stay with you long after the tour is done.

Our emphasis on strange-but-true stories and history means that, beyond a discussion of paranormal investigative techniques and concepts on the Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour, there is no active “ghost hunting” aspect to any of these tours.

Simply put, our ghost tours consist of approximately 90 minutes to two hours of walking, talking, history, and ghostly and horrific tales — expertly told by passionate, intelligent guides.

“Entertaining, informative and a loads of funWe will definitely take another one of her tours.”

Featured in

 

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XO Jane (12 Awesome, Non-Cliched Date Ideas, March 18, 2015)

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Mashable (NYC’s Most Haunted Buildings, October 30, 2014, video)

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Brooklyn Independent Media (October 30, 2014, video)

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The Brooklyn Paper (The Walking Dead: Spooky Street Tour Comes to B’Heights for Halloween, October 22, 2014)

Conde Nast Traveler (Scariest Ghost Tours For Halloween, October 17, 2014)

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AM New York (Tour Brooklyn Heights’ Spooky Past this Halloween, October 15, 2014)

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Featured on Yahoo Travel (True Crime Tours Draw Tourists to Grisly Murder Scenes, August 12, 2014)

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Featured in Rue Morgue Magazine (Dark Empire, May 2014)

LM_logoFeatured in Literary Manhattan (January 2014)

 

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Press Kit

More info can be found in our press kit. Press and media inquiries can be sent to Andrea at info@boroughsofthedead.com.

Photos

The following photos may be used for promotional use. Click thumbnails to enlarge. Please credit Boroughs of the Dead for all photos, except where noted.

Boroughs of the Dead founder and owner Andrea Janes (Photo Credit Elizabeth Graham)

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Candid snaps! Tour sites and our guides in action:

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These tours “capture one’s imagination and breathe vivid color into histories long forgotten by most.”

botd_paperbackBUY-NOW

 

 

“Like the best of the pulps, the narratives are creepy, darkly comical and elegantly composed, with lovingly detailed descriptions of place and an ample whiff of lurid decay.” – FANGORIAWritten by tour guide Andrea Janes, BOROUGHS OF THE DEAD is a collection of ten ghostly stories that range from the waning days of the 18th Century to the present time, mixing in a bit of historical fact, a hearty measure of local color, and plenty of honest-to-goodness creepiness.

Partly inspired by true events and partly figments of the author’s evil imagination, these terrifying fictions take their inspiration from Gotham’s darkest histories.

Imbued with the chilling undertone that inhabits all of New York’s five boroughs,BOROUGHS OF THE DEAD is an entertaining, varied and infectious take on things that go bump in the New York City nights.

Stories include:

  • Newtown Creek, a budding teen-aged comic book writer’s nightmares have lethal consequences.

  • The General Slocum, a supernatural explanation of what really happened in 1904 when an excursion boat caught fire and sank in the East River, killing over 1,000 passengers.

  • The End, an author’s surefire method for insuring a permanent place on the bestseller list.

 And more…

  

 

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Gift Certificates

Why not give your friends and enemies something delightfully macabre? Boroughs of the Dead gift certificates make the perfect present for local New Yorkers and visitors alike.

Gift certificates are good for any regular Boroughs of the Dead Macabre Walking Tour for one year from the time of purchase.*

Gift certificates are available in denominations of $20 (the price of one tour ticket). Dollar amount will not be shown on the recipient’s gift certificate. Gift certificates will be sent to you electronically as a printable PDF.

Questions? Concerns? Please feel free to contact us and we will be happy to assist you! Customized and private tours are also available on request.

*Subject to availability

Haunted Brooklyn Heights

This summer, we’re bringing back our signature “Haunted Brooklyn Heights” walking tour! Stroll through the quiet side streets of Brooklyn Heights, and enjoy the cool breezes on the promenade as you discover the haunting and ghostly histories of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhood…. but don’t let its sedate charms fool you. Nestled within these dwellings are a […]

“It Hurts When I Do This” Quack Medicines Medical History Tour and Secret Speakeasy

Boroughs of the Dead and The Museum of Interesting Things Present: “It Hurts When I Do This” Quack Medicines Medical History Tour and Secret Speakeasy Join us for a tour through New York City’s medical past, followed by an interactive demonstration of medical antiques! On Sunday, June 28th, join Boroughs of the Dead and the […]

Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria

Boroughs of the Dead brings our signature dark walking tours to Queens with “Haunting Histories and Legends of Astoria.” This 2-hour stroll visits some lesser-known historical sites, including the glorious Victorian mansions of Old Astoria Village, and reveals unsettling tales of the neighborhood’s grim and ghostly past. MORE ABOUT THE TOUR  While Astoria is a […]

Lucky Star: Violet Jessop

When speaking about Titanic, phrases like “unlucky,” “ill-fated,” and even “star-crossed” get bandied around a lot. Yet for all the bad luck surrounding the boat, there were a great number of people who exhibited extraordinarily good fortune and were able to survive the sinking or even stay off the ship entirely due to one twist […]

The Victorian Book of the Dead

Chris Woodyard knows that the morbidly-obsessed Victorians had “as many words for death as the Inuit do for types of snow,” and she shares her knowledge in the relentlessly fascinating compendium of grim 19th century arcana, The Victorian Book of the Dead. The news stories collected and edited by Woodyard were gleaned from thousands of old […]

“By far my favorite ghost tour.”

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Private Tour Rates

Please contact us for our current rate sheet. Discounted rates are available for school groups. All of our regular and specialty tours are available as private tours.

Contact Us

Our summer office hours are Tuesday from 12:00pm-5:00pm, Friday and Saturday from 1:00pm to 7:00pm EST. Please allow us a few extra hours to get back to you on days when the office is closed.

For tickets, private tour bookings, and media inquiries, email info@boroughsofthedead.com or call 646-932-0680.

Rate and review your tour on Yelp and Trip Advisor!

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Customer Testimonials

I am an avid history buff and love NY history. Andrea did not disappoint. She knows her history. More importantly, she knows how to capture one’s imagination and breathe vivid color into histories long forgotten by most.

I arranged a private 90-minute “Murder, Scandal and Vice” tour with Boroughs of the Dead and it was absolutely phenomenal. This is no stale, rehearsed walk; Andrea Janes is a true NYC history buff and her passion for the subject shines through every story that she weaves along the tour.

Our guide Andrea was wonderful. She is very articulate, educated and entertaining. The tour lasted about 90 minutes and it left me wanting more. I would highly recommend any of the Boroughs of the Dead Walking Tours given by her.

My family and I are native New Yorkers and we decided to take this ghost tour for fun. It was the Ghost Tour in Greenwich Village and it was great. It was entertaining, informative and a loads of funWe will definitely take another one of her tours.

Background photo courtesy of the Merchant’s House Museum.

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