3. The Met Museum, Madison Square Garden & Grant’s Tomb

George Parker is most famous for selling the Brooklyn Bridge, but those are not the only landmarks he conned people into buying. Others included the original Madison Square Garden, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and Grant’s Tomb. His Grant’s Tomb scheme is probably his most outlandish one, since he pretended to be the son of the former general and president in order to sell it.

Secrets of the Met Museum Tour

Tour guide Patrick Bringley points to architectural features of the Met in front of a group of tourgoers.

Parker did extensive preparation for his scams, which is probably why he was able to sell these New York City landmarks over and over again for about 30 years. He even went as far as to set up fake offices and documents to prove his “legal” ownership of the structures.

Parker mainly targeted wealthy immigrants coming in through Ellis Island. Since America was seen as the land of opportunity, the poor victims of his scams did not see it coming. Beyond immigrants, Parker also targeted tourists, another relatively gullible group of people who were excited to purchase parts of New York City that Parker marketed as souvenirs.