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

Posted on: October 30th, 2013 at 11:18 am by
This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.
This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

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):

This image has been archived or removed.

Wig front right

was now here:

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

Piano sans day planner

This image has been archived or removed.

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.

This image has been archived or removed.

Stairs

This image has been archived or removed.

More stairs

This image has been archived or removed.

Even more stairs

This image has been archived or removed.

Orchestra pit

This image has been archived or removed.

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!

This image has been archived or removed.

Recent Stories

Harold Hunter Weekend 2018 is Announced for the Lower East Side

Each year, the programming celebrating the life of skateboard legend Harold Hunter grows more ambitious. The eponymous nonprofit foundation behind the annual event – now in its 12th season – last spring transformed the one-day skate jam into a weekend-spanning occasion. For the 2018 go-round, the focus is on what Harold loved most – skating, […]

Is the Knickerbocker Village Gallery Show a Trojan Horse for Potential Co-op Conversion?

When it comes to real estate speculation in low-income areas, a gallery show is oftentimes a Trojan Horse. Making things look pretty and appealing for prospective suitors. Especially in gentrifying neighborhoods like the Lower East Side or the South Bronx, where a distasteful “Bronx is Burning” party was held last year that exploited stereotypical tropes […]

‘Izzie’s’ Readies Cheesesteak Spot on Clinton Street

Another small-time restaurant is simply hooked into the former fish and chips spot on Clinton Street. Teaser signage at number 47 advertises the future for the south store – a fast casual place called Izzie’s. Izzie’s brings with it a menu of greasy comforts like cheesesteaks, burgers, and hoagies. (Except in New York City, they’re […]

Check out the New Corlears Hook Ferry Landing, Due to Launch Imminently

You’re looking at an aerial view of the new Corlears Hook ferry landing, which is making some serious progress. Two months after Mayor de Blasio visited the NYC Ferry project site, the new dock is close to completion. The canopied shelter is in place and construction material nowhere in sight. As previously reported, this new […]

Clayton’s Corner: Kids at the Door [PHOTOS]

Clayton Patterson’s front door is legendary. This portal to his home and Outlaw Art Museum at 161 Essex Street served as backdrop for thousands of shots. Locals from around the neighborhood posed (and still pose) in front of the door. Many such photos were included in his Front Door Book from 2009. This particular shot […]