The first building I lived in in Brooklyn, the Adams Family mansion, is up for sale. 5,990,000, currently divided into ten apartments. In 1996 I sublet the attic apartment overlooking Carroll Street.
The house is famously haunted by the ghosts of the Irish servants who died there in an elevator accident, and the landlady used to say the ghosts required that residents be Irish. I’d recently been told my grandmother’s last name was Flood—and when I checked, it was an Irish name (from the New York City Floods even—she’d run off to Maine to marry a farmer, my grandfather). That the ghosts never bothered me confirmed for me then, in my own weird way, that I was a little Irish, later actually confirmed by the genealogist my brother hired to trace my mother’s family’s roots. But definitely the strangest moment was the first, when I did as I was told and walked into the empty apartment, set down my bags and said “Hello, my name is Alexander Chee, and my grandmother was a Flood,” to either the ghosts or the empty room.
I’ll never know.
(via Building of the Day: 119 Eighth Avenue)