Manhattan’s culinary stalwart One if by Land, Two if by Sea has a reputation for being haunted but it wasn’t until I examined a recent photograph that I actually began to take these claims seriously.
The restaurant was once the carriage house of vice president Aaron Burr, who infamously murdered Alexander Hamilton in an 1804 duel. Many patrons and employees of the establishment have reported cold spots, footsteps in the attic, and have even seen the specter of an African-American man at a balcony table.
I was at One if by Land for “Restaurant Week,” which actually spanned the entire month of August. My dining companion and I sat in the center of the main room of the restaurant, beneath the stern gaze of a large portrait of Burr. Throughout our three-course meal, I intermittently spouted facts about the politician and criticized his dealings with Hamilton. I repeated the lore of the carriage house to my friend, pointing out creeping architectural details and placing particular emphasis on a tombstone that was purportedly discovered in the basement.
Before we left, I placed my camera on a table by the entrance and opened its aperture. What I caught is at best a little perplexing.