Deep in Brooklyn’s interior lies Green-Wood Cemetery, one of the largest and most prominent burial grounds in the United States.
In the 19th and early 20th centuries, Green-Wood was a premier final destination, housing the remains of New York City’s elite in fields as varied as business, art, industry, and politics.
Among the most notable eternal residents are corrupt politician William “Boss” Tweed, toy store founder F.A.O. Schwarz, piano manufacturer Henry Steinway, and business magnates Charles Pfizer and William Colgate. More recent arrivals include famed artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and composer Leonard Bernstein.
The 400-acre grounds, built in 1838, are a stunning example of the rural cemetery movement, with Green-Wood often looking more like a beautiful city park than a graveyard.
We took a tour of the grounds with Green-Wood historian Jeff Richman, who let us in on all the stories hidden behind the monuments and gravestones.
This is the entrance to Green-Wood Cemetery, which lies at the edge of Park Slope. The gates were designed in a Gothic Revival style.
The cemetery occupies 478 acres of rolling hills, dales, ponds, chapels, and crypts. The cemetery was part of the rural cemetery movement, which believed in creating park-like cemeteries, as opposed to small plots attached to churches.
It lies on the last of the terminal moraines (debris formed from Ice Age glaciers) that form the hills in Brooklyn and Queens.
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