Famous & Infamous

CANCELED: Roosevelt Island Ghosts Expected at the Octagon, January 27

Updated 35 weeks ago David Stone
Charles Dickens - Expected on Roosevelt Island Later This Month
Charles Dickens - Expected on Roosevelt Island Later This Month

Long believed to be haunted, The Octagon hosts a return of famous and infamous characters who once strode Roosevelt Island's grounds, slept and ate in its institutions, and looked out from real and virtual prisons. The Roosevelt Island Historical Society is conjuring this event. THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELLED.

A Festive Afternoon High Tea at 3:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 27th, is the lure with which the Historical Society hopes to draw the likes of Charles Dickens, Nellie Bly and Emma Goldman to the Octagon at 888 Main Street for a fund raising event.

Dickens may be reluctant to revisit what was once a lunatic asylum on then Blackwell's Island.

About it, he remarked, "Everything had a lounging, listless, madhouse air, which was very painful."

In 1887, Bly wrote an exposé in the New York World newspaper after a brief stay at the asylum. Her book Ten Days in a Mad-House changed the way Americans thought about mental healthcare. 

"The insane asylum on Blackwell's Island is a human rat-trap," Bly wrote. "It is easy to get in, but once there it is impossible to get out."

Possibly the most notorious, if brief, visitor to step foot on this Island was Tammany Hall's notoriously corrupt ringleader, William Magear “Boss” Tweed.

Mark your calendars. Dickens, Bly, Goldman, Tweed and others may return to Roosevelt Island, later this month. 

Don't miss a potentially rare opportunity to meet them and hear their stories.

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