In honor of the bicentennial of the birth (1/19) of Edgar Allen Poe , the Bronx Historical Society threw a party of sorts at his last place of residence, a tiny wooden cottage now located a few hundred yards from its original site. When Poe lived there, the Bronx was considered a healthy retreat, offering lovely views and fresh country air. Now standing at the top of Poe Park, the site provides a small oasis of tranquillity amid the rush of the city. Here, after the death of his wife, Virginia, from tuberculosis, Poe wrote some of his most famous poems, including Annabel Lee, Ulalume, The Bells, and Eureka. The house is open for tours ( website here ) and is currently undergoing much needed restoration, but Poe’s spirit is evoked by a few pieces of his furniture, photographs, and a bronze bust of the writer.
The cottage then and now.
On Sunday, January 18, the ghost of Poe, in the form of actor Tristan Laurence, hosted a gathering in his parlor, where he sat at his desk penning something mysterious, posed for photos with his visitors, and answered questions. Looking remarkably fit for a 200 year old, EAP also treated his audience to a dramatic reading of the poems composed on that very spot, his larger-than-life shadow looming evocatively behind him. He invited guests to visit the narrow chamber in which his beloved died, where his rocker still sits, empty and forlorn, beside the bed .
On the upper floor played a video production of a new play that tells the story of Poe’s demise. There are many hypotheses surrounding the actual causes and circumstances, and this drama portrays him as a victim of “cooping”, the practice by which voters are captured and forced to cast multiple votes for a particular candidate. It also included a talk by education director Anthony Green, whose enthusiasm for Bronx history is contagious. After a publicity campaign and the planned construction of a new visitor’s center in the park, it is hoped that tourism in the borough will markedly increase.
Next time you’re in NYC, do consider a short pilgrimage to the home of one of America’s legendary authors. It’s well worth a visit; there’s much more here than Yankee Stadium and the zoo.
6 thoughts on “A Visit to Poe’s Cottage, the Bronx”
Hi, I just discovered your blog via the Art History Reading Challenge and wanted to let you know how much I enjoyed this post. I’ve never been to Poe’s cottage, but I will certainly keep it in mind for a future visit to NYC! Happy reading/traveling to you!
Thank you, Richard, so glad you enjoyed it. Do you have a site? Hope you’ll visit here often!
I have a book/movie blog at http://caravanaderecuerdos.blogspot.com (since you asked). I’ll definitely be back to visit here, though! Take care.
I want to go there! So cool!
This looks great! We were in CT last weekend and my husband said he’d like to visit the home of Mark Twain in Hartford, another time — now this EAP place needs to go on the list too!
Twain’s house is amazing, and full of his own stuff, unlike many house museums. The tour guides are armed with many one liners from his writing, so it’s a fun tour. Harriet Beecher Stowe’s is right next door, and that’s very nice too.