Boroughs of the Dead

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Boroughs of the Dead

Boroughs of the Dead is a unique tour company devoted to strange, dark and unusual walking tours of New York City. From the haunts of the East and West Village to 19th century true crime tours, to Manhattan’s only dedicated Edgar Allan Poe walking tour, all of our tours are meticulously written and researched, one-of-a-kind creations . Please visit our Tours page to book your tickets now.

What Makes Us Different

All of our tours are run by emerging and established horror and speculative fiction writers, bringing a high caliber of research and unparalleled storytelling to each and every tour. We are a locally owned and operated company that hires and supports working writers. There is no other walking tour company like us in the city. Visit our FAQ page to learn more.

FEATURED TOURS FOR HALLOWEEN 2014!

  • The Weird West Village: From Poe to Lovecraft

  • 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, and more! 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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  • Ghosts of Broadway and Hell’s Kitchen

  • From a beautiful Ziegfeld girl who died too young, to a charismatic impresario who refuses to give up show business even in the afterlife, there are miles of specters to be found on the Great White Way. This 90-minute walking tour makes its way westward from the heart of Broadway to the fringes of Hell’s Kitchen, sharing the terrifying tales of the ghosts who still linger long after the show has finished.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • Haunted Brooklyn Heights

  • Discover the haunting histories of Brooklyn Heights! Nestled in one of Brooklyn’s oldest neighborhoods are a wealth of gory, ghastly, haunted, and horrific tales. Visit the site of a former site of a “ghost-haunted” fort, meet the Phantom Bell Ringer of Brooklyn Heights, and more!  Let us 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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  • The Magic and Mysticism of Central Park

  • 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.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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

GHASTLY, GRIM & GHOSTLY

Perfect for horror fans and anyone who likes their history weird and uncanny. These tours contain elements of the paranormal.

  • 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.

    $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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SEASONAL TOURS

  • Ghosts of the Titanic

    Presented every year in April
    Meeting Point: Astor Place, in front of the cube sculpture (the “Alamo”). 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.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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MURDEROUS, MORBID & MACABRE

Nothing paranormal here… just dark, violent, bloody, morbid, and macabre true histories of New York City.

  • Green-Wood Cemetery: Off the Map

    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_3Explore the sights of Green-Wood that aren’t listed on the map! See 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, gangsters, artists and murderers.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • Murder, Scandal, and Vice

    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.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • 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.

  • 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. You will discover the places that inspired Poefind out where he read “The Raven” for the first time in public, and learn of the scandals and triumphs he experienced while living there. 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.

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door

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  • Ghosts of Christmas Past

    Presented every year in December
    Meeting Point: In front of Sr. 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. Hear some incredible, entertaining, and downright creepy true tales of ghosts and hauntings, from an expert storyteller. Discover the amazing connection between Santa Claus and New York City. Learn where Charles Dickens read A Christmas Carol in 1867 and how Washington Irving saved Christmas. See some of NYC’s genuinely haunted homes, including the 1832 Merchant’s House Museum, called the most haunted house in the city by the New York Times, and the host of their very own series of ghostly Victorian Christmas events, including performances of ‘A Christmas Carol’ (show not included in tour ticket price). Hear the very best true ghost stories from the East Village and Greenwich Village, all with a delightful Christmas twist!

    $20 in advance, $25 at the door, $15 for Merchant’s House Museum Members

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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. All of our tours are led by working writers of horror and speculative fiction, who 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?

All of our tours are run by emerging and established horror and speculative fiction writers.

Janes Author Photo_smallFounder 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.

Tour guide Leanna Renee Heiber 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 forthcoming 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.

Tour guide Lauren Glennon is a writer, actress, and theatre enthusiast. She has spent a majority of her life studying the paranormal and has discovered her love of theatre has become entwined: in her current incarnation as a Broadway usher, she has found herself experiencing a few ghostly friends. She loves to share her personal experiences with the paranormal, and looks forward to doing so as a Boroughs of the Dead guide.

Do You Wear Costumes?

Nope! Whether clad in Edwardian 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 my 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, I 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, I can recommend The Ultimate Greenwich Village Ghost Tour. Each stop has been carefully selected based on my two years’ experience leading tours in the West Village and Greenwich Village. I’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 I only offer it once a year, on April 14th and/or 15th. If you just can’t wait til then, I do offer private tours of my Titanic walk, or any of my ghost walks. Feel free to blend and customize routes as well. I’m always happy to craft a specialized ghost walk based on your favorite themes, eras, and interests.

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 90-minute period. Only take on what you can handle. The Green-Wood Cemetery Tour is not recommended for those who have trouble on steep or hilly areas, and is not recommended for anyone with a stroller.

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. So don’t worry about being in a group of forty people in the East Village on a Saturday night, following a tour guide in a neon t-shirt or something. That won’t be you, we promise.

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.

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. No refunds will be given in cases of extreme lateness (more than 20 minutes after start time) or no-shows.

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.

Do You Offer Private, Group, or Customized Tours?

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

What If I Have A Suggestion for a Ghost Tour?

Email me! I’d love to hear it!

If you have any other questions, please call or email me and I will be happy to answer them!

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

Featured in

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Listed in

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

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

Featured in Literary Manhattan (January 2014)

Click here for a downloadable PDF of our Press Kit.

  • Custom Tours

    Boroughs of the Dead tours are ideal for private, corporate, school, and group events. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling ghost tour to reward your team for a job well done, a historical tour of 19th century murders for the true-crime buff in the family, or a dark histories tour of Lower Manhattan to impress the out of town visitor who wants something truly out of the ordinary on their trip to New York, we can craft and blend the perfect private tour for you and your group. Contact us to book your private tour today!

  • Recommended for schools

    We recommend Edgar Allan Poe’s Greenwich Village, which combines scholarly rigor and meticulous biographical research with a passionate appreciation of Poe’s work to create an educational and fascinating look at Poe’s life and times in 1840s Greenwich Village. The only tour in New York City to focus exclusively on Poe’s time in the city and contextualize it within the overall history of New York, this tour allows students to envision Poe working, writing, and living in 19th century Gotham, while illuminating how his time here informed his poems and short stories.

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…

  

 

 

Ruth Edna Kelley: Librarian, Authoress, Badass

Who was Ruth Edna Kelley and why am I obsessed with her? Kelley was a twenty-six year-old librarian who literally wrote the book on Halloween. Back in 1919, Kelley wrote The Book of Halloween, which I picked up in a slightly crumbling hardback first edition (!!!) from the Brooklyn Public Library (why and how they […]

Poe Land by J.W. Ocker

J.W. Ocker’s Poe Land is pure fandom fun. Structured like a road trip from Boston to South Carolina, this engaging travelogue meets up with collectors, enthusiasts, actors, and scholars, to form a fascinating picture of the people who keep Poe’s legacy alive. I must admit that, initially, I wasn’t crazy about the fact that the […]

Poe Trivia and Ticket Giveaway

Hardcore Poe fans know that October 7th is kind of a big deal. It’s a day we don’t usually let pass without some kind of ceremony. If you’re in New York City, might I suggest honoring the day with a walking tour of Poe-related sites in Greenwich Village? It’s one of my favorite tours of […]

Q&A With Paul Collins, Author of The Fever Called Living

This autumn, fans have been lucky enough to see the release of two great new books on Edgar Allan Poe.* The first of these, The Fever Called Living, has rapidly become my most recommended resource for anyone out there looking for a really solid and straightforward Poe biography. In an astonishing 107 pages, Paul Collins […]

The Fox Sisters, Spiritualism, and the Burned-Over District

This post is published in conjunction with our upcoming tours, Murder & Mayhem, Scandal and Spiritualism tour of Green-Wood Cemetery and Magic and Mysticism of Central Park , which explore the spiritualism and mysticism of 19th century New York. Tickets for these events can be purchased here. If you were mystically inclined in 19th century […]

The Brooklyn Enigma

My discovery of the Brooklyn Enigma was a mistake. On one of my recent research trips to Green-Wood Cemetery, I was scouting graves and stories for my upcoming tour, Murder and Mayhem, Scandal and Spiritualism. I was using one of the cemetery-issued tourist maps, the kind you might be familiar with if you’ve ever visited […]

Happy Birthday, Virginia Poe

Virginia Eliza Clemm Poe was born on August 15th, 1822. Tonight, in honor of her birthday, Boroughs of the Dead is celebrating with a special edition of Edgar Allan Poe’s Greenwich Village. The tour is already sold out, but we’ve got two more Poe tours coming up in October, on Saturday October 4 and Tuesday […]

Guest post from Leanna Renee Heiber: 14 West 10th Street

The following guest post comes courtesy of Leanna Renee Heiber, 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 forthcoming Eterna Files saga from Tor/Forge. Most of her books are set in Victorian New York and all […]

“By far my favorite ghost tour.”

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Contact Us

Office Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday, and Saturday from 12:00 noon to 7:00pm EST. Phone messages and email are always monitored, but 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.

 

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