New York City sidewalks have certainly seen their share of crime scene tape–though in most cases, the blood has faded from the pavement, the gunshots can no longer be heard and in one instance, the scene has been replaced by a coffeeshop. In part 1 of our look at notorious city crime scenes, we take a look at sites of famous deaths, from a “beautiful” suicide to violent mob killings. 

1. The Empire State Building – 5th Ave & West 33rd St.

Since its completion in 1931, the 102-story Empire State building has unfortunately been the scene of numerous suicides. One particularly tragic death was immortalized in LIFE magazine as “the most beautiful suicide.” On May 1, 1947, 23-year-old Evelyn McHale lept from the observation deck and plummeted 86 floors to her death. Her body crushed the hood of a parked United Nations Assembly Cadillac as onlookers gathered round. Despite the violent fall, she looked peacefully asleep. Photographer Robert C. Wiles captured this photo of her just minutes after her death, which inspired a series of prints by Andy Warhol titled “Suicide (Fallen Body).” McHale was engaged to be married, but she left behind a note saying she “wouldn’t make a good wife for anybody.

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2 thoughts on “5 Notorious NYC Crime Scenes

  1. So macabre, yet I can’t seem to help being fascinated by these stories, especially those involving the mobsters. Next trip to the City, I’ll probably try to visit these establishments or neighborhoods. Looking at the suicide photo, which I’m assuming is Evelyn McHale, it appears to me that her clothing is in such disarray that I wouldn’t associate with a fall from a skyscraper, which makes me wonder if it was indeed a suicide…tragic.

  2. Really interesting article about crime scenes….I think Kitty Genovese was killed in early 1964…my parents moved into that neighborhood when they got married in June 1964…

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