Top 10 Secrets of Green-Wood Cemetery in New York


Green-Wood Cemetery was the second most popular tourist site in New York State in 1860, with over 500,000 visitors each year – Niagara Falls was the first. Located in Brooklyn near Prospect Park, the cemetery was founded in 1838 as one of the nation’s first rural cemeteries. With over 560,000 “permanent residents”, many of whom are quite famous, Green-Wood Cemetery has earned a reputation as one of New York’s most prestigious cemeteries. Its hilly landscape has also inspired the creation of public parks in the city, including Central Park and Prospect Park. Without further ado, here are our top 10 secrets of the Green-Wood Cemetery, a National Historic Landmark.

The catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery are only open a few times a year to the public, for guided tours of the mysterious underground and for concerts. Access is gained using an old-fashioned dungeon-like key, which unlocks the iron doors in front. Green-Wood Cemetery staff refer to the space as “30 vaults”, a reference to the number of vaults inside.

Situated under a hill spanning about 150 feet, the catacombs date from the early 1850s, built as a series of family vaults in an area once dug for gravel. The most famous person buried in the catacombs portion of Green-Wood Cemetery is Ward McAllister, the Gilded Age high-society tastemaker who coined the term “The 400” to refer to the whole New York exclusive that could fit in Mrs. Astor’s ballroom. . He was not as wealthy as those he advised, so burial in the Green-Wood Catacombs was a fitting undertaking for someone of his stature. Richman says McAllister would have been “quite chagrined to know that the catacombs are now locked and access is very limited”.

Next: #9 There’s a memorial to the 1960 Park Slope plane crash

Comments are closed.