Urban legends are exactly the type of cultural effect that makes great cities great and there is no city on the face of the Earth to have more and more popular urban legends than New York City.
Here is a list with some of the strangest and most popular urban legends of New York.
The Haunted Empire State Building
The Empire State Building is one of the most recognizable and renowned buildings in the world so it makes sense that a number of stories, some outrageous some just silly have sparked over the years regarding it.
One of the lesser known ones is that the Empire State building is hunted by none other than the ghost of Howard Hughes.
According to the legend, the famous and somewhat eccentric billionaire, philanthropist and aviation engineer, owned an apartment at the top of the Empire State at some point during the 50’s. After Hughes’ death, the apartment was sealed and completely cut off from the world. However, workers in the Empire State would catch glimpses of him floating out of his room at night.
Many things disprove this legend, one of which is the fact that the Empire State is a purely commercial building, and at no time did it have private apartments on sale, even for billionaires like Howard Hughes.
Pennies that fall from skyscrapers and kill
This is one of the most famous legends that have spawned in New York. While it initially involved a penny being dropped from the top of the Empire State Building, it has many versions all of which involve a huge skyscraper.
The result of the falling penny is also a detail that varies. It either kills people instantly by crushing their skulls, or obliterates a car roof or windshield or in some versions of the story in embeds itself into the concrete sidewalk.
The legend was so popular that a lot of people actually believed it could be possible. Until a host of news agencies carried out an experiment to see if a penny dropped from one of New York’s skyscrapers could actually kill someone.
Well, as you probably guessed, it wouldn’t, and while you would certainly feel it if it hit you, you could carry on normally without suffering any damage, much less a crushed skull.
Skating Ghosts in Central Park
Central Park is without doubt the most famous park in the world. It is the place most New Yorkers go to get a breath of fresh air and a slice of silence. This doesn’t mean that it’s without its stories and legends, some of which are quite creepy. One of the most famous urban legends surrounding Central Park is the ice skating ghosts.
The legend says that twins Rosetta and Janet Van der Voort loved ice skating in the Central Park rink and that they wouldn’t miss any occasion to go.
Things didn’t go all that well for the young ladies and they tragically died just a few months apart. Since their death, legend says that they can be seen skating in Central Park in their Victorian dresses, sometimes alone, sometimes among the crowd.