Location, Location, Location… Lairs, Castles and Haunted Houses

I’m a New Yorker and all New Yorkers are obsessed with real estate. We talk about it. We dream about it. And we read about it. Show me a New Yorker who never checks out the real estate section of the New York Times or who doesn’t hyperventilate at the low, low prices in other cities, and I’ll show you a zombie (or someone suppressing their natural inclination to hover over the thought of an extra 50 square feet of hardwood floor, roof deck or storage space.V

Classic monsters seem to be just as obsessed as my neighbors.

Lairs, castles, haunted houses, caves, ruins, towers, attic hideouts and isolated cabins are Home-Sweet-Home to a wide range of MONSTERS and supernatural beings. Even the candy cottage in Hansel & Gretel was a magical perfect match for a wicked witch luring children to their doom. There’s something about gingerbread real estate made of actual gingerbread that tweaks the imagination.

Let’s munch on a few shingles and bricks.

Modern monsters — the vampires, werewolves and wizards that populate paranormal romances, urban fantasy and all sorts of contemporary genre fiction — usually live in a variation of the lair associated with their classic origins. Suburban vampire families aside, don’t you picture a vampire in someplace dark and brooding with space to roam and a private room for coffin storage? A vampire would do very well as one of my neighbors. A big downtown loft apartment, a small but pricy West Village brownstone with a coffin room/wine cellar, or one of the triplexes in my building with dark basements, would all do very well.

I’ve pondered the plight of the urban werewolf. New York, especially the Village/Chelsea/Union Square areas that I haunt, has a laissez-faire, live-and-let-live attitude, but a naked werewolf returned to his human state would be hard pressed to navigate the streets and get home without being noticed. New York is a 24/7 town. The “Naked Cowboy” (famous for singing in Times Square while wearing next to nothing and boots) in NOT naked, so I’m stumped about a werewolf’s habits and habitation in the city.

As for wizards, ghosts and the rest — their only problem finding housing would be the same as the rest of us… it’s expensive! Other than being priced out of market, I think most supernaturals would feel right at home in New York. Maybe not zombies… cabbies would run them down and I can’t see a zombie managing the new bike share program — too complicated.

So New York is not for zombies, tough on werewolves, but a pretty good location for a supernatural being with the right budget.



  1. Thanks to their immortality, it seems vampires are usually able to amass more than enough wealth to be able to afford to live in NYC. Though my Idaho abode is not a dwelling suited for the undead, they would probably roll over in their graves to learn how cheaply a house can be had for in the potato state.

    • Candy

      The combination of price and square footage is what drives many New Yorker’s to distraction. A 500 square foot studio in Manhattan is a spacious house in most parts of the country. But, if you’ve got the accumulated wealth of compound interest over centuries, plus a very, very long-term investment plan, one of the multimillion dollar 19th century Brownstones or 18th century carriage houses in the village are within a vampire’s grasp.

      How would a werewolf do in Idaho? Easy to come home naked and unobserved the morning after a full moon? He’d need some ground coverage and good camouflage terrain.

  2. Salem’s Lot comes to mind with a vampire moving into the suburbs. Depending on the neighborhood, everyone knows everyone else. It would be hard to sneak undead into the neighborhood. Part of their power comes from being anonymous and reclusive.

    I do think a were wolf would love the area around me though. There are woods all over the place. Free range hunting of deer and such.

    • Candy

      Last month I wrote my first werewolf story and set it in and around a small North Eastern college — lots of woodsy hunting grounds.

      What you say about the suburbs is interesting. In a city you live in very close proximity with strangers and learn bits and pieces of their habits. I imagine that there are suburbs like that — with psychological distance — and others with neighbors always dropping by. As a child I remember that we all knew each others families, but that was confined to the residents with kids. We were always playing together and my summer memories are set in this one’s yard and that one’s basement — all on the same street.

      The older couples with grown children on the block could opt in or opt out of the social aspects of the neighborhood. But my parents, who had little in common with the other parents, had to make friends because of us kids.

      I guess the suave vampire could pass as the elderly widower, a slightly creepy guy who preferred to garden at night. LOL.. I feel a story coming on…

      • Candy

        Waking up as in human form in the wrong place at the wrong time could be deadly during fire season!

  3. A good wizard/magician needs a nice private space to work magic. I’m seeing a magician in a cramped apartment converting a closet into an altar space…

    • Candy

      Sounds SOP (standard operating procedure) for NYC. I know Wiccans with Magik corners. A wizard might have to set aside a part shelf in the kitchen too?