Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

Did you know a bouncer called Gallus Mag used to bite off patrons' ears and store them in pickle jars in one of modern-day New York City's most well-known watering holes? Taking a cue from Copper, the new BBC America show about the violence, corruption, race riots, and class struggle of 1860s New York, here's a few of the city's historically gory addresses that you can still visit today — along with where to find them.

Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

Morris-Jumel Haunted Mansion, 65 Jumel Terrace

Aaron Burr, Army officer, lawyer, New York State Assemblyman, Attorney General, Senator, Vice President, and widower, began a late-in-life affair (he was a vigorous 77) with Madam Eliza Jumel, a divorcee of substantial means. Shortly after their tryst began, her ex-husband Stephen died a gruesome death after suspiciously falling from a window and landing on a pitchfork. Eliza and Aaron married soon after, but divorced a mere 3 years later (around the time of Aaron's death).

Eliza's mental health deteriorated drastically. Her behavior became erratic, and she demanded to be followed by an armed garrison on her daily rides about the grounds of her Washington Heights mansion. Since her 1865 death, a ghost in a white dress bearing a striking resemblance to the second Mrs. Burr has been spotted roaming the mansion. Field trip, anyone?


For more on BBC America's all-new, original 1860s drama, Copper, click here.

Photo Credit: Ray Wert

Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

Shakespeare Statue, Central Park

Who would have thought that an innocuous statue of The Bard in the city's grandest park was built with blood money? That this tribute to Will was erected using funds generated by a November 25, 1864 performance of one of his plays (Julius Caesar) is not particularly surprising, but guess who played Marc Antony? None other than the most famous thespian-turned-presidential-assassin John Wilkes Booth. Less than six months after Booth and his brothers Edwin and Junius starred in the much-hyped "theatrical event" at the Winter Garden Theatre, President Lincoln would be dead, thanks to a bullet from Booth's pistol — and JWB himself would be fatally shot in the neck after a storied ten-day manhunt. The statue still stands today.


For more on BBC America's all-new, original 1860s drama, Copper, click here.

Photo Credit: Ray Wert

Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

Marble Cemetery, behind the Bowery Hotel

The Bowery Hotel attracts rock stars, film-types, and those with disposable incomes (and their hangers-on). But what those who stay there may not realize is that just out the rear windows of the hotel sits an almost block-long "park." Underneath that park lies New York City's oldest nondenominational burial ground. Opened in 1830, over 2,000 souls are interred there — almost all before 1870.

The cemetery became known as "a Place of Interment for Gentlemen" and became the final resting place for luminaries like George Douglass, whose first son Benjamin founded the firm which was succeeded by R.G. Dun & Co., which in turn eventually became Dun & Bradstreet.

In more recent years, Bowery junkies were known to leave needles and empty fifths of cheap liquor on the grounds, and at one time there was a cemetery landmark known as "The Underwear Tree" from which transient skivvies hung — a view that must make those $1,200-per-night hotel suites worth every penny.


For more on BBC America's all-new, original 1860s drama, Copper, click here.

Photo Credit: Ray Wert

Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

The Bridge Cafe (formerly The Hole-In-The-Wall), 279 Water Street

This "quint [sic] and charming" bar/restaurant is "gr8" and serves "not much" chicken, but is still considered a "fancy lunch time [sic] option" whose "bread basket is worthy of your attention."* Seems harmless, right? But the Bridge Cafe is in fact the oldest continuous business establishment in NYC, that, since 1794, has counted among its iterations a grocery, porterhouse, a brothel, and, in the mid 19th-century, a saloon called The Hole-In-The-Wall.

Well-known criminals Kate Flannery and Gallus Mag worked as bouncers at this notorious underworld hangout, and if you pissed ol' Mag off just right, she'd bite your ear off and plop it in a pickle jar above the bar for all to see. Seriously.

Bar brawls involving waterfront thugs like Slobbery Jim and Patsy the Barber were frequent, and the record for on-premises murders stands at 7 in a 2-month period. Go for the fried oysters, stay for the groaning ghost of Gallus Mag (who's said to linger in the ladies' room).

*Yelp!

For more on BBC America's all-new, original 1860s drama, Copper, click here.

Photo Credit: Ray Wert

Five Sites from New York City's Secret Bloody Past You Can Still Visit TodayS

The "Bloody Angle," Doyers Street between Pell and Bowery

This short, bent Chinatown street lined with hair salons looks tame enough today, but 37 people met their bloody end here at the hands of the gangs that ran the show in the late 19th century. In Gangs of New York, author Herbert Asbury claimed that more murders were committed here that "any other place of like area in the world." The lack of lighting and the sharp curve in the road proved ideal for a snickersnee ambush, and reportedly there is a secret network of underground tunnels connecting neighboring buildings that made it easy for bloody-handed killers to escape.

One of the most famous murders that occurred here was that of comedian (and member of the Tongs gang) Ah Hoon. He liked to make jokes on stage about members of rival gangs — and was found shot through the heart, the victim of an assassin who was lowered to his boardinghouse window on a boatswain's chair.


Now that you have your roadmap to New York City's secret bloody past, get even more of a fix by watching BBC America's all-new, original 1860s crime drama, Copper, premiering August 19 — only on BBC America!

Photo Credit: Ray Wert