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Literary legend haunted hotel for 53 years until neglected remains buried with family in NYC, say historians

The ashes of American literary icon Dorothy Parker reportedly haunted the Algonquin Hotel for more than 50 years, before she was buried beside family in New York City.

Dorothy Parker’s ghost spooked guests at New York City’s landmark Algonquin Hotel for more than 50 years — then suddenly went silent in 2020. 

Local historians suggest the literary icon’s restless spirit desperately called in agony from the beyond, until her dishonored earthly remains were buried with respect beside her family in the Bronx.

Among other indignities, Parker’s ashes reportedly spent 17 years stuffed in the filing cabinet of a law office in downtown Manhattan.


"You can certainly make the clam that, since Parker’s ashes have returned to New York City, she doesn’t haunt the Algonquin anymore," Greg Young, host and producer of the "Bowery Boys" podcast, a popular chronicle of Gotham history, told Fox News Digital. 

News of her spirit's sudden silence came as a shock to Kevin Fitzpatrick, founder of the Dorothy Parker Society. 

"Oh wow. That’s incredible," Fitzpatrick said Saturday, after being informed by Fox News Digital that Parker’s ghost appears to have left the Algonquin after more than half a century of alleged hauntings. 

Fitzpatrick personally delivered the author’s ashes to Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx for a long overdue proper burial beside her parents and grandparents in August 2020. 

Parker was a member of the Algonquin Round Table, a collection of early 20th-century literary luminaries who gathered at the historic Midtown Manhattan hotel, which opened in 1902. 

Harpo Marx, along with Pulitzer Prize- and Tony Award-winning playwright George S. Kaufman and essayist and Oscar-winning screenwriter Robert Benchley — perhaps best known today as the grandfather of "Jaws" author Peter Benchley — were all members of the what they dubbed "the Vicious Circle."

Parker carved out a place in literature with withering wit.

"The first thing I do in the morning is brush my teeth and sharpen my tongue," she said in one of her many oft-repeated quotes.


Parker died of a heart attack in 1967. Reports that her ghost was haunting guests followed soon after her death and continued for decades. 

Many other spirits reportedly still haunt the hotel, too. 

Fitzpatrick spent several hours in the hotel’s sub-sub-basement with paranormal investigator Doug McMillan in 2016, in response to decades of ghostly reports.

"Investigators found all kinds of paranormal activity at the Algonquin," Fitzpatrick said. "It was spook central."

Added ghost hunter McMillian, "There were definitely some unresolved issues manifesting themselves down there." 

A portrait of Algonquin Round Table members hangs over the hotel’s lobby restaurant. Children reported that the "mean woman" in the painting — Parker — told them to hush if they were being loud or unruly. 

Reporter Kelly Conaboy of Gawker spent a night at the hotel in 2015 armed with an electromagnetic field reader, Ouija board and crystal pendulum to communicate with the dead.

She asked the 30 late members of the Algonquin Round Table if they were present. 

Eight of them, Conaboy reported, said yes. The reporter determined only that Parker "may be" present.

Elle Decor named the Algonquin one of 30 "most haunted hotels in the world" in 2018, singling out Parker's spirit. 

"When renovations were made to the hotel's attic, unexplained noises were reported coming from the empty space," the outlet reported, "and a photograph of Parker even flew off the wall, shattering."


Parker's outcries, observers now believe, were a call by the author's restless spirit to be reunited with her family.

Parker was a celebrity of American letters. She was among the first contributors to The New Yorker, helping to turn it into one of the nation's leading periodicals of literature; she wrote the lyrics to Bing Crosby's hit "I Wished on the Moon"; and she left an imprint on Hollywood, too.

Parker was one of the screenwriters behind "A Star is Born." Her version appeared on the silver screen in 1937 and has been remade several times. 

She was also famous for her appetite for alcohol and for a lascivious lifestyle. 

"I like to have a martini. Two at the very most," she wrote in one famous ode. "After three I'm under the table, after four I'm under my host."

Her clever quotes are often cited in toasts today. And she's the namesake of Dorothy Parker Gin from New York Distilling Co., a popular spirit in the Big Apple. 

"Regularly seated at the famed Algonquin Round Table, she occupied the city’s cultural and intellectual center stage," the distiller proudly points out on its website.

But Parker died childless of a heart attack on June 7, 1967. 

Despite her celebrity in life, her fate in death was that of a pauper.

She willed her assets to Martin Luther King Jr. — a man she said she never met but admired. The Civil Rights leader was assassinated just 10 months after Parker died. 

Upon his death, according to her will, her assets were transferred to the NAACP.


Parker’s ashes, after nearly two decades of anonymity in a filing cabinet, were placed in 1988 in a modest memorial next to a parking lot on the grounds of NAACP headquarters in a Baltimore office park — a city where she had no affiliation, said Fitzpatrick. 

He and members of the Dorothy Parker Society raised funds to have the ashes disinterred and returned to New York City.

"We put the urn in a pine box and took the Amtrak back from Baltimore to Penn Station," the Manhattan resident said. 

"I had a gin and tonic on the train in her honor."

Fitzpatrick founded the Dorothy Parker Society merely as a fan in 1998.

Given his scant connection to the author, "It was an out-of-body experience having her box next to me knowing it was Dorothy Parker’s last ride."

Parker, he said, then took an Uber uptown "and hung out with me and my family for a few days watching Netflix." 

Parker was finally buried beside her parents and grandparents in Woodlawn Cemetery on what would have been her 127th birthday — Aug. 22, 2020. 


Fitzpatrick and a representative of the NAACP hosted a simple ceremony attended by only 10 people at the height of COVID-19 restrictions

Fitzpatrick and society members raised additional funds to place a memorial over Parker's resting place in a slightly larger more celebratory ceremony in Aug. 2021.

The Algonquin Hotel remains haunted by other spirits, according to various reports and legends. 

But no longer by Parker.

"These ghost stories become real because people retell them and believe them," said Young of the "Bowery Boys" podcast. 

He said he is skeptical of the Algonquin Hotel's haunted history.

But "it's definitely a coincidence that reports of Dorothy haunting the hotel" have ended since she returned home to her family, he admitted. 

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