Spooky season fast approaches, and last year, Greenpoint saw the debut of The Lady in Greenpoint, a walking tour of the neighborhood set to a fictional ghost story.
“The walking tour also serves up a bit of Greenpoint history, including the northernmost area’s former nickname of Dangertown and creatively named pickpocketers and gangs like the ‘Dangertown Slobs’ and “Jolly Four,'” we wrote last year.
Now, Rick Paulas, the mastermind behind the tour (and, if you’re an active Twitter user, the iconic Palmer Hotel reply guy) has set up shop at local bar Oak & Iron (147 Franklin Street) for an art show commemorating The Lady in Greenpoint.
The show, running from September 21 through Halloween, features charcoal prints depicting shadowy scenes from the tour. Below, we caught up with Paulas to find out more about his new show.
It’s been a year since The Lady in Greenpoint kicked off. What has the neighborhood response been like?
It’s hard to get stats on the number of folks who’ve done it because I’m not really tracking it, but between word-of-mouth and Venmo tips, I’m comfortable saying a few hundred have done the walk. Those who’ve done it seem like they’d had a good time, or at least, that’s what they tell me to my face! But I’ll also say that I’ve heard of quite a few people taking an exit ramp an hour or so into the walk at the first bar stop, which is at Oak & Iron. Having a few drinks and stumbling back home, telling themselves they’ll finish it later. But that’s fine too!
What inspired you to turn the tour into an art show? How did the collaboration with Oak & Iron come about?
The art itself was a byproduct of trying to figure out the puzzle of making the walk automated, that is, making the user experience good enough where it runs on its own. I was worried that walkers wouldn’t know where to be when they pressed play on an audio track, and so took a bunch of photos of POVs around the neighborhood to help with that. At some point, it made sense to me to turn those photos into charcoal drawings to assist with the mood and what-not. So, I had these 55 charcoals sitting around, and one night I was chatting with Danny, the manager at Oak, who’d just taken on the role and had begun installing local artists on the walls. He asked if I knew anyone, and I whipped out my phone and showed him a few charcoals, and from there it was just figuring out the display logistics and setting the date. The fall season into Halloween made obvious sense.
Spooky season is fast approaching. Do you have any other favorite haunted spots in NYC?
NYC is an interesting city because it feels like it almost can’t be haunted due to so much new construction and a general lack of ruins. Property value will do that. My theory is that ghosts—at least, ghost stories—need old architecture to exist, which honestly is why I was trying to fill in the gap with The Lady in Greenpoint. THAT SAID, I really think the vibes of the Dutch Kills section of Long Island City, as well as most of Red Hook, carry with them a general spookiness that’s fun to get lost in. Wall Street too gets particularly spooky late at night. So, I guess those are my most evocative locales in NYC when it comes to wanting to catch the haunts.