Living with the Dead
In a city where the race for real estate can often feel like a life-or-death quest, three New Yorkers reveal what it’s like to live in an apartment where the former resident met a grisly end.
“In New York, you share everything with everyone,” Emma Grady says. “If you’re moving into an apartment, there are constant reminders that someone was there before you...and those are the things I like to cover up.”
But some stories aren’t forgotten after a fresh coat of paint.
Grady is one of three people I tracked down last year, all tenants of New York City apartments tainted by grisly histories: a suicide, a murder and an overdose. These women talked about being haunted—not by literal ghosts, but by sadness and pain that wasn’t their own. Some spent considerable time trying to sort out the macabre pasts of the residents who came before them; one still can’t shake the questions surrounding her predecessor’s end.
Getting other New Yorkers in similar situations to talk was not easy. In the grimy apartment building above Carnegie Deli where actress Jennifer Stahl was shot in 2001, a man in boxers slammed and locked his door at the mention of the late starlet’s name. …
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