In honor of Edgar Allan Poe today, join us a virtual tour of Poe’s New York City. This virtual tour builds on our “Edgar Allan Poe in Greenwich Village,” letting us range up and down the length of Manhattan and the Bronx, discovering significant locations for Poe’s life and work in New York City.
A Virtual Tour of Poe’s New York City
To begin with a bird’s eye overview, you can’t do better than Mary E. Phillips’ Poe Plan of New York, from the E.A. Poe Society of Baltimore. Almost every significant Poe-related location in Manhattan is pointed out here, and you can spend hours rambling and gazing at this virtual 19th century city through Poe’s eyes.
But let’s hone in on a few precise locations.
This is Edgar Allan Poe’s house on Carmine Street, where he lived briefly for a period in 1837-8. Poe’s first foray into New York City is covered in detail elsewhere on this site, but in a nutshell, he lived here for about a year, bringing his mother-in-law and new bride along with him. Their trip started off well enough, and Poe had high hopes for getting some magazine work in this publishing epicenter.
Image courtesy of the NYPL Digital Collections. On the back of the image, an inscription reads: “Poe’s neighbors in Carmine Street; old relics opposite his old home. The house he lived in has long been replaced by a pretentious apartment house.”
Here’s the City Hotel, where Poe attended a Bookseller’s Dinner on March 30th, 1837, where he gave a toast: “To the monthlies of Gotham, their distinguished editors, and their vigorous collaborators!” Unfortunately, he wasn’t to be among them: he failed to get any significant magazine work as either writer or editor, and eventually gave up on New York and moved to Philadelphia. One good thing came out of the dinner, though: an editor at Harper’s suggested Poe lengthen his story of Arthur Gordon Pym into a novel, which he did. It was to be Poe’s only novel. Image courtesy NYPL Digital Collections.
In 1844, Poe returned to New York City. He lived in a few boarding houses downtown, on Greenwich Street and Ann Street, then moved up to Brennan’s Farm, which is located roughly where West 84th Street meets Riverside Park today. This is where he completed The Raven. Image via MCNY.
The Poes would move from Brennan’s Farm down to Greenwich Village by 1845, living on Amity Street (now West Third), East Broadway, and Amity Street again, before finally moving up to the village of Fordham, now the Bronx, where they would stay for the remainder of their lives. Above is a fancifully gloomy etching of the Poe Cottage in the Bronx, appropriately located in the collection called “Homes and Haunts.” Image courtesy of NYPL.
A photograph of the same cottage, from 1919. Image courtesy of NYPL.
The cottage interior. It still looks very much the same today. You can still see the bed where Virginia died on January 30th, 1847. If you’re a Poe fan and you live in New York City, and you haven’t yet made the trip up to the Bronx, here’s all the info you need to get you there. Image courtesy of NYPL.
While you’re in the Bronx, why not take the time to stroll over the recently re-opened High Bridge? You’ll be literally following in Poe’s footsteps. And if you’d like more than a virtual tour of Poe’s New York City, be sure to hop on our “Edgar Allan Poe In Greenwich Village” walking tour!