Friday, October 29, 2010

☞ ARCHITECTURE: The Houdini House Gates

For some reason, every time Halloween comes around, the renowned Harry Houdini becomes popular once more.  The iconic early 20th century figure is more of an illusionist than a performer of arcane arts but folks visit his grave in Queens or do searches for the house Houdini formerly lived in during this time of year. We have written a few articles on Harry Houdini in the past and most folks walking by 278 West 113th Street (just east of FDB/8th Avenue) will find the cast iron gates marking the magician's modest estate. Mr. Houdini moved into the Harlem brownstone with his wife in 1904 and would live their until his untimely death 22 years later: LINK. There's one of those bright red plaques with a little bit of history on the door but most can't really get to it because the gate separates the porch entrance.  Apparently the historic home is now divided into several rental units.


  1. Wow, that IS a modest house.

  2. Houdini is popular at Halloween because he is (a) one of the great legends of show business (b) his name has come to mean magic and mystery and (c) he died on Halloween day of a ruptured appendix (after being punched in the gut by a university student). He has been the focus of three bio films (that I know of), countless books and articles, and was famous in his lifetime for exposing fraudulent mediums who preyed on grieving families following World War I. He was also one of the world's first movie stars, the first man to fly a plane in Austrailia, a prolific author, and history's most renown escape artist. He said that if there was any way to communicate from beyond the grave, he would. Every year at Halloween, the faithful wait for word of him...