Haunted History: The Spirits of Amato Opera House on the Bowery

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 at 11:18 am by

vintage-halloween-costumes-35

Folks! ’tis the season!! For hauntings, but for me they happen all year ’round. Last one for awhile unless you let us know you want more!!!

A funny thing happened on my way to the forum…or IN the forum of the Amato Opera House. Over the summer, I spent a day documenting the interior demolition of the Bowery icon, but opted to leave the events that occurred that day for another time.

One tremendous remnant was the day planner from 1963/1964 that fell out from behind one of the remaining pianos. Also, trust me when I tell you this – physically, no one remains, but spiritually? Whomever moves in is going to have one hell of a time.

The following explains why I mentioned that:

The day was hot, the sun was blazing through the windows and while many believe most hauntings occur at night, I object wholeheartedly.

IMG_5408

As I made my up the debris-filled stairs onto one of the upper floors of the Amato Opera House, there stood a piano. A sad reminder of the jovial nature of the place; it sat alone, decomposing. To my right was a ladder, and on the floor I noticed a wig. I ventured further to find yet another decomposing piano. Both instruments looked as though they hadn’t been played in years. Perhaps a construction worker tried their hand and caused a key to stick? Who knows, but what happened next would flout that theory.

IMG_5386

IMG_5388

At first just a key, then a chord, then an adrenaline-inducing full B scale.

I saw no keys moving. Ivory covered in dust. Defunct. There was a melancholy feel in the room and while I wanted to run, my feet stuck firm to the floor.

I called out to the man who had let me in (his name is changed):

“Adam, did you hear that?”

No answer.

Turns out Adam, not an adventurer and seemingly put off by the darkness (even in the daylight), had stepped outside. He would have had to walk across the remains of the stage through the debris and up the stairs. I would have heard him. There is no doubt.

IMG_5425

Where I stood; The route from the inside out

It was silent again and so I turned to leave, hoping my Chucks wouldn’t fail me. Beneath my feet I heard a key play. Then again a chord and finally, that same full B scale. Something was running its hands hard across the keys of the first piano, but wasn’t I alone? I charged downstairs to find the room empty. Did I really expect to see anything but? Well, yes, kind of.

I called out to Adam again:

“Adam?”

“ADAM!!???”

Deafening silence.

What happened next defies gravity and reason. The wig on the floor (look towards the front of the photo to the right):

Wig front right

Wig front right

was now here:

IMG_5413

Freaked and equally fascinated, I hightailed it back upstairs (don’t ask me why, I often act before I think). That day planner?

“One tremendous remnant was the day planner from 1963/1964 that fell out from behind one of the remaining pianos” was sitting atop the keys of the second piano.

Piano sans dayplanner

Piano sans day planner

IMG_5414

Piano with day planner

As an aside, do either of these instruments appear operational to you?

It was time to GET OUT.

Down the steps at a dangerous speed, under the orchestra pit, back onto the stage, through the seating area, up another set of steps and out the front door.

IMG_5381

Stairs

IMG_5421

More stairs

IMG_5428

Even more stairs

Orchestra pit

Orchestra pit

IMG_5430

Facing stage (front door behind me)

Dripping sweat and covered in dust, I saw Adam outside on his phone.

He looked at me with genuine concern and asked if I was ok.

My response was concise and final: “you, my friend, are going to have a hell of a time finding a tenant that stays.”

He looked perplexed, but there was nothing more to say. I grabbed my bag of tools and helped shut the gate all the while knowing that even though no one was inside – something definitely remained.

Commenters, walls are talking and haunting is happening.

Happy, happy Halloween to New York City- one of the most haunted places in the world!

fstoppers_vintage_halloween-1

Recent Stories

85 Bowery Landlord Responds to Vacate Order, Alleges Illegal Conversion of Apartments to SRO

The controversial landlord of two Chinatown tenements is now responding to the ongoing drama with the embattled tenants of 83-85 Bowery. You’ll recall that last Thursday evening, as part of the ongoing legal case between the two parties, the State Supreme Court ordered an inspection of 85 Bowery. An alphabet soup of city agencies and […]

‘Spitzer’s Corner’ Closes for Renovations

For the first time in a long time, the southeast corner of Rivington and Ludlow Streets is relatively quiet. Ten-year-old Spitzer’s Corner closed this week for a slight makeover. Signs announcing the onsite renovations appear in the doorway of the establishment. This is an expected development. As previously reported, hated Hell Square operator Rob Shamlian is […]

Saying Goodbye to the Sunshine Cinema Before its Imminent Demolition

Ain’t no sunshine when it’s gone. Nor light from that fabulous marquee. Landmark Theaters’ Sunshine Cinema ended its Lower East Side tenure Sunday night after nearly two decades on East Houston Street. We paid a visit on the penultimate night, and it was mobbed with moviegoers getting their last licks before another neighborhood favorite meets the wrecking […]

‘La Caverna’ Nightclub Heads to SLA for its Multilevel Expansion on Rivington Street

When La Caverna first proposed its concept for Rivington Street in 2002, it was presented as an Italian restaurant. In fact, it was a bait-and-switch club that still has some Lower East Side residents are still coping. Now ownership hopes to expand La Caverna with a multilevel experience. Fooled once, yes. Not again. Fifteen years […]

Chad Marlow Resigns from CB3 After Removal from Committee Chair Position Over Liquor Density Fight

Newly appointed Community Board 3 chair Alysha Lewis Coleman stepped into controversy last week when she reportedly sacked member Chad Marlow from his post as Transportation committee chair, a seat he’s held for little more than a year and a half. And today he is completely resigning from the advisory board. The major bone of […]