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A Haunting on Billionaire's Row

Exterior front view of the building

In honor of Halloween, we present a most chilling tale of 57th Street's haunted Penthouse.

In the bustling heart of New York City, quality apartments are a coveted commodity. Yet, there's one address that stands apart, not for its opulence, but for the chilling tales of an alleged curse that have haunted its occupants over the years.

The eerie saga of 57 West 57th Street traces its roots to the early 20th century. In 1922, Albert Champion, a professional cyclist renowned for inventing the spark plug, crossed paths with the significantly younger Edna Crawford from Kansas City. Their whirlwind romance culminated in a marriage that would soon take a dark and ominous turn.

However, the dark shadow of fate would soon loom over their union. In 1927, while in Paris, Champion stumbled upon a shocking sight: Edna and her French lover, Charles Brazelle, locked in a passionate embrace in a Parisian bar. This chance encounter led to a fateful confrontation, with Brazelle delivering a fatal punch to Champion. Astonishingly, Champion's death, attributed officially to heart failure, was never subjected to a formal investigation.

Now a widow and substantially richer, Edna returned to New York City, accompanied by her lover, Brazelle. In their quest for extravagant living, they acquired an exquisite penthouse apartment at 57 West 57th Street. This lavish abode came with a chilling secret—three floors below it housed a medical facility for the mentally ill.

Undaunted by the eerie surroundings, Edna and Charles decided to take their indulgence a step further, purchasing the entire building for a staggering $1.3 million, all in cash. The couple embarked on a flamboyant remodeling spree of their penthouse, complete with a 40-foot Venetian mural featuring a nude portrait of Edna and a bed adorned with a $30,000 gold canopy.

However, their once-passionate relationship soon descended into violence. On a tragic night, during one of their intoxicated quarrels, Charles allegedly beat Edna to her demise with a telephone. Edna's bodyguards then seized Charles, cruelly tossing him over the penthouse balcony, sending him hurtling down 19 stories to a grisly end on the unforgiving pavement below.

The gruesome events in the penthouse left it abandoned for years until radio producer Carlton Alsop, along with his wife and their four imposing Great Danes, decided to call 57 West 57th Street home. Unfortunately, their arrival marked the beginning of a chilling descent into madness.

The dogs, known for their stoicism, exhibited peculiar behavior, refusing to enter the penthouse and whining in distress. Both Mr. and Mrs. Alsop reported hearing unsettling sounds, including the eerie click-clack of high-heeled footsteps, when no one else was present.

As the disturbing occurrences escalated, Mrs. Alsop reached her breaking point, abandoning her marriage and fleeing the penthouse. Carlton, trying to lift his spirits, hosted extravagant parties, but his guests couldn't shake the eerie feeling that someone or something was watching them. Some even claimed to have been followed by an unseen woman down the stairs.

Carlton Alsop's mental state deteriorated, eventually leading him to check into the mental hospital located just a few floors below his once-luxurious home. Whether it was the malevolent spirits of Edna and Charles, or the lingering souls of the hospital's former patients, no one could say for certain.

However, one thing was undeniable—anyone who dared to set foot in the penthouse left with an indelible sense of dread. Unable to secure a tenant, Carlton Alsop had no choice but to abandon the property at a significant financial loss, leaving the upper floors vacant once more.

In 2010, the penthouse underwent preparation for rental once again. Boasting an impressive 11,000 square feet and unparalleled views of midtown Manhattan and Central Park, it seemed like an irresistible prospect. Yet, the eerie atmosphere persisted, deterring prospective occupants.

In 2011, an art gallery known as fordProject, an offshoot of Ford Models, hosted an exhibition in the space. Journalist Linda Yablonsky, in an article for T Magazine, explored the cursed and haunted history that clung to this luxury dwelling.

Today, the building is mostly occupied, with a few floors still awaiting tenants. Perhaps the restless spirits of the past have retreated into the shadows, or maybe they bide their time, waiting to reemerge once again. The cursed and haunted history of 57 West 57th Street continues to be a perplexing enigma, one that both intrigues and terrifies those who dare to venture into its ominous past.


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