Edgar Allan Poe was born on January 19th, 1809 in Boston, Massachusetts, but many northeastern cities claim him as their own. Before his mysterious death in 1849, Poe lived in Richmond, Virginia, Boston, Massachusetts, Baltimore, Maryland, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and multiple places throughout New York. Despite having departed over a century and a half ago, Poe has not been forgotten. On this anniversary of his birthday, we take a look at 10 sites in New York City where you can remember the poet.
1. James J. Walker Park, Formerly St. John’s Cemetery
Poe first came to New York for a job at the New York Review, a literary magazine run by Francis Lister Hawks, in 1837. Poe, his young wife Virginia Clem, and her mother Maria Clem lived for a short time at the corner of Sixth Avenue and Waverly Place in Greenwich Village. They shared the home with bookseller William Gowans. Gowans later wrote of his impression of the Poe family from the eight short months they boarded together. During this time, Poe finished his only novel, “The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym,” which was released in 1838.
The Poes soon moved to 113 ½ Carmine Street. It is said that Poe and his wife enjoy frequent jaunts through St. John’s Cemetery, located on the east side of Hudson Street between Clarkson and Leroy Street, at the site of what is now James J. Walker Park. Poe didn’t publish much during his first stay in New York City and there is very little correspondence to or from him at this time. His move to New York coincided with the Panic of 1837 which led to a financial depression and the folding of the New York Review. With no job or means to make it in the big apple, Poe moved his family to Philadelphia in 1838.