Herewith, the final installment (for now!) of our A Lot About a Plot series, diving deep into the histories of storied addresses around town.
(Photo: Gabriel Pintado)
Sometimes he hears them whispering in the halls.
“Horrible things have happened here,” Jean Paul tells me. “There are spirits still lingering here.”
Jean Paul Chatham is a 40-year-old gay plumber from Belize, dark-skinned with a large bush of curly, Creole hair that he keeps brushing away from in front of his face. He’s lived at Umbrella House for about 14 years. When he greets me he is shirtless, wearing camouflage pants and two protective amulets on a chain around his neck. Although clearly physically fit, he keeps apologizing for his appearance. He says his face looks the way it does because the entire building is trying to cast spells on him, or “bless him with negative energy,” as he puts it.
This week and next, we present a series of longer pieces unraveling the histories of storied buildings.
A mugshot of the anarchist Emma Goldman after she was arrested in Chicago in 1901. (Photo: Chicago Police Department via Library of Congress)
New York City reporters already knew all about Emma Goldman when she spoke to a group of unemployed Jews at Golden Rule Hall on August 17, 1893, one of the many venues on the Lower East Side that was home to dancing, music and radical politics. “If you are hungry and need bread, go and get it!” she intoned. “The shops are plentiful and the doors are open.”