In 1846, three years before he succumbed to a mysterious death, Edgar Allan Poe moved with his wife Virginia and mother-in-law Maria Clemm to a modest cottage in the historic Old Fordham Village area of the Bronx. Poe's life was laced with tragedy, but his legacy will continue to live on at this city-owned cottage, which has recently undergone a costly restoration.
When Poe — the macabre master behind spine-tingling stories such as "The Telltale Heart" and "The Pit and the Pendulum" and the father of modern detective fiction — arrived in Fordham, he was flat broke and his beloved Virginia was dying of tuberculosis. You can view the 8'x8' room where she took her last breath and imagine his heartbreak. You can also get a sense of his state of mind as he wrote "Annabel Lee," "The Bells" and "The Cask of Amontillado."
While the cottage has been faithfully restored, Poe fans might experience a bit of heartbreak of their own when they see the still-shuttered Poe Park Visitors Center nearby. Designed by famed architect Toshiko Mori to subtly reference a raven, the $4.5 million attraction has fallen on hard times, not unlike the man to whom it pays homage. Let's just hope it has a happier ending.
Check out the complete story in the New York Times. It's a fitting read for Halloween.
In the meantime, here's my favorite Poe quote, which seems apt for this day of ghosts and goblins: "The boundaries which divide Life from Death are at best shadowy and vague. Who shall say where the one ends, and where the other begins?"
Images: New York Times