Queens is so diverse that even the guided tours are varied!

The borough hosts a scary walking expedition, a van trip to religious venues, and an armchair trek to haunted forts and buried treasures this weekend.

Richard Melnick — an author, licensed guide, and active Greater Astoria Historical Society trustee — will offer the Haunted Waters Tour on Saturday, Oct. 26, at noon. This is his signature gig, and he leaves no stone unturned as he shares the stories of murder, mystery, and mayhem along the Astoria waterfront. Churning whirlpools, angry electric eels, unseen islands, impenetrable reefs, a riderless horse, mass exhumations, bones, pirates, and quicksand are on the list.

Plus, Melnick will discuss NYC’s largest maritime tragedy, the General Slocum Disaster, which took place in the East River off Astoria in 1904. More than 1,000 passengers died when a chartered steamship burned and sank during a church outing. He’ll also mention how the HMS Hussar, a 28-gun British Royal Navy frigate, sank there in 1780 with thousands of pounds of gold and dozens of American prisoners of war aboard.

Tickets cost $20, but those in costumes can attend for $10. The group meets under Hell Gate Bridge at the intersection of Shore and Ditmars boulevards. A word to those who arrive early: according to local legend, a crazed troll appears from the Hell Gate Bridge’s base periodically to snatch up little children.

The other Oct. 26 option is the Sacred Sites Tour at 11 a.m. The Corona-East Elmhurst Historic Preservation Society leases a luxury van for this annual swing through six historic houses of worship, so participants don’t have to wear their walking shoes.

Corona and East Elmhurst were among the first neighborhoods in the United States where African-Americans could legally purchase property. As such, the area has been home to many prominent African Americans—from baseball player Willie Mays to writer Langston Hughes to singer Ella Fitzgerald. The tour includes stops at the sanctuary where Louis Armstrong’s funeral took place and a church founded by freed slaves in 1828.

Tickets cost $35. Find out the meet-up location via email to coronaeastelmhursthistory@gmail.com.

The final event is Armchair Ghost Tales from Queens at the Queens Historical Society on Sunday, Oct. 27, at 2:30 p.m.

Marie Carter — who works for Boroughs of the Dead, a boutique tour company devoted to strange, dark, and unusual walking tours of NYC — is the leader, but she won’t take participants to any physical locations. She’ll present a spooky, illustrated lecture about the ghouls, haunted forts, buried treasures, tragic film stars, and specters of cemeteries that gave Queens the “Borough of the Dead” nickname.

Born in Scotland, Carter is fascinated by NYC’s macabre underbelly. She designs and leads ghost tours of Astoria, Flushing, and other boroughs and often lectures on pet cemeteries and witches at QED in Astoria, where she lives. She has also written a novel, “Holly’s Hurricane,” and a memoir, “The Trapeze Diaries.”

General admission is $5, but students and seniors can attend for $3 each. The Queens Historical Society is based in Kingsland Homestead at 143-35 37th Ave.

Image: Boroughs of the Dead


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