22 February 2012

That Haunted Looking Building

This is 84 Second Avenue in the East Village. I've always liked this building, mainly because it's one of those old-fashioned, two-story, glass storefronts that were once so common and are now increasingly rare. But also because it's never been renovated or gentrified (indeed, it hasn't been occupied by a going business in some time), and is thus very redolent of the area's workaday, immigrant, un-hip past.

I was curious was sort of businesses had inhabited the old place. I became curiouser when I spotted this incomplete name in riles just outside the left-hand door.

I can make out "MAT," but the other letters are unclear.

That was enough to get me on the hunt. It wasn't long before I learned the horrific story of why this story has stood in suspended animation for decades. Back in 1974, it was the site of a terrible murder. A 40-year-old seamstress named Helen Sopolsky, who worked at a tailor shop located at this address, was bludgeoned to death. Her nude body was found on the second floor. Following the murder, which went unsolved, the shop was left as is, like a haunted house, the unlit neon sign "Dress Suits for Hire" left in the window.

JVNY wrote about this last year. Apparently the site of the murder was for many years undisturbed, with the powder where the cops dusted for fingerprints still there. The building has fascinated people throughout the years. A punk rock group named itself Dress Suits for Hire, and that was also the name of a play by performance artist Holly Hughes. Apparently, an old lady still lives inside.

84 Second Avenue has been bad luck for others as well. It was a temporary home for women in 1884, open to "self-supporting homeless young women, with or without a child." Morris Kosturk, 40, was found dead there in 1921. And Aaron Schneider, who lived here in 1964, was the victim of a hit and run driver.

Of course, none of this tells me anything about those tile letters. Sigh.

1 comment:

Grade "A" Fancy said...

Looks like "Matilda" to me. I thought the story would end with that being the name of the bear!