The top creepiest statues in New York City

There are countless statues in New York City, each one put into place for a different reason. Many of these statues have been there for decades, often gifts and peace offerings from other countries. The Statue of Liberty, for example, was a peace offering from France, officially dedicated in the year 1886. Lady Liberty represents the Roman goddess of freedom, Libertas. While the word ‘creepy’ typically does not pop into anyone’s head when they think of this important statue, there are plenty of other monuments in good ol’ New York which can make the most fearless person’s skin crawl.

Listed here are the top creepiest statues in New York City. Understand that while some of these statues may seem like odd choices, there is always a rhyme and reason behind picking them. Fasten your safety belts and get ready for an interesting journey into the weirdest monuments the Big Apple has to offer.

1. Miguel de Cervantes (right) First on the list is the statue of famed Spanish writer and painter, Miguel de Cervantes. Cervantes was born on Sep. 29, 1547 and died April 23, 1616. He lived in Madrid for a large portion of his life and is most popularly known for writing the epic novel “Don Quixote.” A statue of him currently rests on the NYU campus near Fifth Avenue and has been in place since 1986. This particular statue is known for giving the viewer a solemn, lonely feeling. Plus, it does sort of look like he is watching everyone as they walk past him. At any rate, whether some people agree or not, the statue of Miguel de Cervates is pretty creepy.

2. Lin Ze Xu This is probably an odd choice, considering Lin Ze Xu was a widely respected Chinese scholar and member of the Qing Dynasty, advocating peace and moral high-ground during his tenure–but the selection stands. Xu was born Aug. 30, 1785 and died Nov. 22, 1850. A statue was erected by an unknown sculptor in 1999 and is now sitting on the busy intersection of East Broadway St. and Chatham Square. Xu was chosen to be on this list of creepy statues because of his grim expression and stature. Xu’s memorial has him dressed in ancient Chinese garb, looking as if he is lording over the many passerby of Broadway St.

3. Dolly Dimples Now it’s time to kick it into high gear. Dolly Dimples is an extremely odd example of New York statues, currently owned by a local candy shop called Valvo’s Candy. She is a giant 1950’s style little girl and can be seen in the distance waving at passersby, sporting a rather unscrupulous smile. She was originally part of a drive-in restaurant in the 1970s called Pat’s Diner. While Dolly Dimples is probably modeled after the idea of a sweet, innocent school-girl, she at least appears to have ulterior motives hidden somewhere behind that creepy grin of hers.

4.Big Leather Guy This statue resides off of Route 30 and used to belong to Alvord’s House of Leather. Alvord’s closed in late 1998 and now the statue has found a new home. He looks quite a lot like the fabled character Paul Bunyon and is totally retro, sporting his 1970s suede jacket and high-legged boots. Big Leather Guy is now positioned outside of the entry way at Adirondack Leather Shop, greeting customers with his all-too-warm smile.

5.The Long Island Sphinx Near the beaches of Long Island resides a strange, small-scale ‘replica’ of the mighty Sphinx. This one more than makes the list of creepy New York City statues, not only because of it’s decidedly lecherous expression, but because of an odd inscription carved into his midsection, which reads: “She Who Climbs To The Sphinx’s Head, A Millionaire Will Surely Wed.”

6.The Stoned Shores of Staten Island Finally, the time comes to mention the stone structures of Staten Island’s beaches. These strange monuments litter the shores, taking the viewer on a wild journey to what appears to be a very creepy alien landscape, full of towers, rooms and Stonehenge-like structures. These oddities were in fact built by Douglas Schwartz, who claims that his creations, spanning over a half-mile, are the product of an ecological art experiment. Regardless of their purpose, Schwartz gets awarded the official crown for ‘King of Creepiness.’

Creepy and beautiful cemeteries around the world

cemetery, cemeteries
Cemeteries aren’t the first places most people go to while on vacation, but they can tell a lot about a culture and its history. We all have to die sometime and the way we deal with the dead says a lot about ourselves.

Some cemeteries are overgrown and covered in moss. Others are orderly and well-kept. Some are beautiful, and can inspire wonderful photographs like the one taken here by user Perrimoon over at Flickr. Sometimes graveyards can be downright dangerous, like the cemetery in Haworth, England, famous as the hometown of the Brontë sisters. The dead were literally stacked ten deep in this graveyard and the stream that provided the town’s water flowed right through them!

Some of the best free sights in Paris are cemeteries. The same goes for New York. My pick for the best place to see cemeteries is Rome, the city of the dead, which has splendid Renaissance tombs, ancient Roman gravestones, and mummified monks.

Do you have some good cemetery shots? Join us over at Gadling’s flickr pool and show us your art. You might just get picked for Photo of the Day!

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The world’s ten creepiest abandoned cities


Some cities die. The people leave, the streets go quiet, and the isolation takes on the macabre shape of a forlorn ghost-town – crumbling with haunting neglect and urban decay. From Taiwan to the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains, these abandoned cities lurk in the shadows of civilization. Their histories are carried in hushed whispers and futures stillborn from the day of their collapse. Some have fallen victim to catastrophe while others simply outlive their function. I think we can all agree on one thing – they are all very creepy.

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abandoned cities

Pripyat
Location: Pripyat, Ukraine – 100km from Kiev
Story: On April 26, 1986, the Chernobyl reactor began its tragic meltdown. The incident was a huge blow to the viability of the nuclear energy platform, and still today, the town of Pripyat is an abandoned shell of a city frozen in a 1980’s Soviet time-warp. While the failed reactor has been entombed in a an appropriate sounding casing called a “sarcophagus,” the area remains unsafe for human life. The town has thrived in one aspect though. Wildlife has returned to the area in droves. Wolves silently hunt among the towering apartment buildings, and boars forage for food in the abandoned amusement park – which strangely opened the day after the reactor explosion in the midst of evacuation.
Abandoned since: 1986

abandoned cities

Sanzhi
Location: Sanzhi district, New Taipei, Taiwan
Story: This area called Sanzhi was originally a vacation resort catering to U.S. servicemen north of Taipei. The architecture could be called UFO futuro chic, and the abandoned resort community had difficulties from the beginning. During construction, many workers perished in car accidents, and other freak accidents were common. The urban legend online search trail places the death count close to twenty. The deaths were attributed to supernatural causes. Some speculated that the resort was built on a Dutch burial ground while others attributed the misfortunes to a dragon statue destroyed during construction. Either way, the ruins never took their first guest, and the stillborn project was abandoned.
Abandoned since: 1980


Craco
Location: Craco, Basilicata, Italy
Story: Built on a summit, Craco’s utility was initially derived from its ability to repel invaders. The town’s placement on a cliff precipice also threatened its integrity. After being rocked by a number of earthquakes and subsequent landslides, Craco was abandoned for lower ground. Today, the empty village is great for exploration and houses a number of interesting old world churches such as Santa Maria della Stella.
Abandoned since: 1963

abandoned cities


Kolmanskop
Location: Kolmanskop, Namibia
Story: Once a successful diamond mining community, Kolmanskop is now a desert ghost town where the houses welcome only sand. The desert city was originally built when Germans discovered great mineral wealth in the area. They built the town in an architecturally German style with a ballroom, a theater, and the first tram system in Africa. The desert reclaimed the town when the miners moved on. The sands have filled houses, covered the streets, and slowly erased most signs of civilization aside from the towering homes and public buildings. The sight of a decaying German town in the shifting sands of the Namib desert is anachronistically delightful.
Abandoned since: 1954

abandoned cities


Ghost Island
Location: Hashima Island, Nagasaki, Japan
Story: During the industrial revolution in Japan, the Mitsubishi company built this remote island civilization around large coal deposits in the Nagasaki islands. The island is home to some of Japan‘s first high rise concrete buildings, and for almost a century, mining thrived on the island. At its peak, the 15 acre island housed over five thousand residents – coal workers and their families. Today, a post-apocalyptic vibe haunts the abandoned island and the dilapidated towers and empty streets exist in a creepy industrial silence. In 2009, the island opened to tourists, so now you can take a trip to explore the Ghost Island’s abandoned movie theaters, apartment towers, and shops.
Abandoned since: 1974

abandoned cities


Oradour-sur-Glane
Location: Oradour-sur-Glane, Limousin, France
Story: During World War II, the Nazi troops came upon Oradour-sur-Glane and completely destroyed the village, murdering 642 individuals. The burned cars and buildings remain frozen in time as they did in 1944, a reflection of the monstrosity of war and a memorial to the villagers who lost their lives. The massacre was one of mankind’s most vicious moments. All visitors to the “martyr village” are asked to remain silent while wandering the melancholy streets of tragedy.
Abandoned since: 1944

abandoned cities


Centralia
Location: Centralia, Pennsylvania, United States
Story: The entire city of Centralia was condemned by the state of Pennsylvania and its zip code was revoked. The road that once led to Centralia is blocked off. It is as if the city does not exist at all, but it does, and it has been on fire for almost fifty years. In 1962, a fire broke out in a landfill near the Odd Fellows cemetery. The fire quickly spread through a hole to the coal mine beneath the city, and the fires have been burning ever since. Smoke billows out from cracks in the road and large pits in the ground randomly open up releasing thousand degree heat and dangerous vapors into the air. The city has been slowly evacuated over the years, though some residents have chosen to stay, believing that the evacuation is a conspiracy plot by the state to obtain their mineral rights to the anthracite coal reserves below their homes. Smells like lawyers to me.
Abandoned since: still marginally occupied by 10 or so brave souls


Humberstone
Location: Northern Atacama desert, Chile
Story: Declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2005, Humberstone was once a bustling saltpeter refinery in the desert of northern Chile. Life on the moonscape of the Chilean pampas is extremely sparse, and outposts like Humberstone served as work and home for many Pampino miners. The hostile environment proved a menacing part of everyday life for Humberstone residents. Their efforts to extract nitrates from the largest saltpeter deposit in the world transformed farming in Europe and the Americas in the form of fertilizer sodium nitrate.
Abandoned since: 1960

Bodie
Location: Bodie, California, United States
Story: The poster boy for a ghost town, Bodie is absolutely stunning in its dereliction. The boom-town over 8,000 feet up in the Sierra Nevadas was a gold rush outpost, and, at its height in the 1880’s, allegedly one of the largest cities in California. 65 saloons lined the dusty mile long main street, meaning the saloon to resident ratio was definitely high enough to keep the sheriff busy. Beyond the swilling of brews though, Bodie developed into a city filled with big town characteristics like churches, hospitals, four fire departments, and even a Chinatown district. Today, visitors are free to to walk the deserted streets of this town built on gold and hope.
Abandoned since: 1942, though the last issue of the local newspaper, The Bodie Miner, was printed in 1912.


Kayaköy
Location: Kayaköy, Muğla, Turkey
Story: Thousands of Greek speaking Christians lived in this town just south of Fethiye in southwestern Turkey for hundreds of years. The rather large village has been a virtual ghost town since the end of the Greco-Turkish War. Over 500 houses and several Greek Orthodox churches populate this garden of decaying structures. Some hope exists for a resurgence of this old city, as organic farmers and craftsmen have began to trickle in to this fringe community.
Abandoned since: 1923

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Weekending: Varna, Bulgaria

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Back in September, the end of the Muslim month of Ramadan offered locals and expats like me an excuse to go on holiday while our American friends were celebrating the end of summer and Labor Day. With more time to explore than a typical Weekending trip, I checked out Turkey’s most western neighbor, Bulgaria, and fell in love with modern and medieval captials Sofia and Veliko Tarnovo.

The place: Varna, Bulgaria

Varna is known as the summertime capital of Bulgaria, a Black Sea beach town that’s a destination unto itself with several notable museums, an active cultural scene, and the gateway to the coastal resort towns.

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  • Unlike many of the purpose-built, touristy resort towns that litter the coast, Varna manages to maintain a nice balance of beach town and actual city. Pedestrian streets Knyaz Boris and Slivnitsa are great for window shopping and people watching day and night, and Varna has a handful of quirky and interesting museums to visit. The Archaeology Museum is one of the country’s best, and my visit to the creepily-cool Medical History museum (with nice Bulgarian lady following me around turning lights on and off as in VT) was one of my favorite travel experiences. Strolling the Sea Garden is a pleasant way to spend an afternoon, though the zoo is maybe the grimmest I’ve seen yet (I could have easily stuck my head into the lion’s cage with no interferrence) but with admission under $1, it’s hard to complain.
  • The variety of daytime diversions extends to nightlife too, with everything from sceney beach clubs to seedy casinos to dive bars. Indian Bar has an eclectic decor of Native American art and Italian soccer banners which manages to be more charming that offensive, while Saloon Bar is just the kind of place I’d love in my neighborhood: cheap drinks, good music, and a bartender that remembers you after one drink. Varna is also the birthplace to Happy Bar & Grill, a chain restaurant all over Bulgaria (and now in Spain too) that resembles a love child of Hooters and T.G.I. Friday’s, in the best sense. Happy has a vaguely nostalgic rock-and-roll Americana theme going on, a menu of Bulgarian food and pizza (they also have some sushi restaurants), and waitresses clad in miniskirts and nude pantyhose. There are several location including a tiki beach bar, and any of them are good spots to take advantage of free wi-fi, decent coffee, and as many ’80s music videos as you can handle. Varna is a bit pricier than other towns in Bulgaria but still a steal by Western standards.

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  • Lovely as Varna may be, the travel season is really limited to summer. While there is plenty to do in cool weather, there is greatly reduced transportation in and around town, many waterfront cafes will close in winter, and you’ll miss out on experiencing the summer scene. The Black Sea has been the hot weather refuge of many Europeans for decades and Varna retains some old-school (and Communist-era) flavor (see the above photo of the thermal pools frequented by the elder residences) while joining the modern world with boutique hotels and sushi restaurants popping up to serve a growing international clientele. If you visit Bulgaria in cold weather, your time would be better spent exploring the old towns and museums in central and western Bulgaria.
  • I’d be remiss in wrapping up a series on Bulgaria without pointing out the obvious obstacle: Cyrillic. Invented in Bulgaria and not Russia, the alphabet is less complicated than you think but takes some adjustment and practice to feel comfortable reading signs and maps. I was fortunate to travel with my Russian-speaking husband who could at least read the alphabet (though Russian and Bulgarian are as dissimilar as English and Spanish) but I got the hang of it quickly enough. Rather than trying to memorize the alphabet in advance, transcribe a few key and familiar words, such as your name, your hotel, and the towns you are visiting so you can begin to recognize the characters. Also, Bulgaria’s quirk is the reverse head nod: they nod horizontally for yes, vertically for no. This feels very foreign the first time you experience it but makes an odd sense after a few days.

Getting there

Most of the international flights to Varna are from Eastern Europe, though the great budget carrier Wizz Air flies from London and Sofia. Bus service is excellent throughout the country (about 7 hours from Sofia) or from Istanbul (10 hours) or Bucharest (7 hours), but train service is slower and less comfortable.

Make it a week

Rent a car or bus hop along the coast if the weather is good, taking note that if a town has a foreign name (like Golden Sands) it’s probably an overbuilt tourist town. You could also combine with other regions of Bulgaria. I fit in Sofia, Veliko Tarnavo, and Varna comfortably in an 8 day Saturday – Sunday trip, traveling between cities by bus and returning to Sofia for my international flight on Wizz Air.

Read about more Weekending trips here.

Mansfield Reformatory: Haunted place with scary stories and a bridal fashion show

Happy Halloween! This video clip of Mansfield Reformatory, a former prison in Ohio, is of a documentary that highlights the prison’s paranormal activities. It’s creepy whether you court the idea of the paranormal or not. When I was walking around the grounds a few weeks ago, it was daylight and sunny, but the massive building is an imposing sort that has a definite thrills and chills factor. It’s the perfect setting for the haunted house that continues through tomorrow night.

Although, it is possible to visit the reformatory at night when its not Halloween, even stay there overnight to search out the paranormal for yourself–or tour during the day, there are other events with a more lighthearted touch.

Glamour in the Slammer Bridal Expo” a bridal fashion show, is held here each year. This year’s is scheduled for November 9, and it’s free. After watching the video clip, and finding out about the bridal show, it seems like a showing of Corpse Bride would be a perfect fit.