Posts Tagged ‘Green-Wood Cemetery’

Robert Caplin for NYT)

Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn (Photo: Robert Caplin for NYT)

Finding a place to live in New York City is hard. Finding a place to be buried is even harder.

As Manhattan grew into a thriving metropolis throughout the 19th century, the city ran out of space and prohibited the construction of new cemeteries as it became unsanitary to accommodate burials on the island. Property in Manhattan boomed and the dead had to move to the outer boroughs.

One of the biggest and most famous is Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery; across the East River, more than 600,000 souls rest there. Founded in 1838 as part of the rural cemetery movement which sought to move burial grounds to the countryside as cities expanded, Green-Wood was the second “garden cemetery” in the United States after Mount Auburn in Cambridge, Mass. As a National Historic Landmark, it is both the custodian of the souls that rest in its landscaped hills and of a chapter of American history.

Acoustically cut off from the city, the cemetery is an oasis if tranquility spreading over an area the size of 400 football fields. With rolling hills, meandering walkways, four lakes, a bird sanctuary and myriad trees – some of which are more than 150 years old – Green-Wood continues to operate as a cemetery but also draws in visitors and tourists, attracted by the serene environment and the famous and infamous dwellers.

But on a Monday afternoon, the bucolic grounds were almost deserted. After walking through the majestic gates, I allowed myself to get lost in the maze of paths that cut through the green hills. (more…)


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