New book traces Green-Wood's ghostly past
This eerie Angel of Death keeps watch over the grave of former Brooklyn mayor Charles Schieren.
When it comes to ghostly haunts, Green-Wood Cemetery has an esteemed list of resident spirits. The gravesites of notable New Yorkers cover its 478 acres, including the likes of Peter Cooper, Charles Pfizer, Boss Tweed and artist Jean Michel Basquiat.
We talked to author Alexandra Kathryn Mosca, who is also a funeral director, about her new pictorial book, Green-Wood Cemetery, to learn more about its haunted history.
Q: What was your most surprising discovery while researching?
A: One of the people I found was Dr. August Renouard. When I was coming up as a funeral director, the old-timers would talk about him. He was considered the father of modern day embalming. To a funeral director, that was significant.
Q: Which gravesite is the spookiest?
A: There is a really strange gravestone. It belonged to [former mayor of Brooklyn] Charles Schieren. The mayor and his wife died a few days apart, they both had pneumonia. The monument is the angel of death. I think its one of the eeriest.Q: Youve written about many cemeteries, what makes Green-Wood special?
A: Its almost a history certainly of New York, but also of America as well. The people [buried there] are nationally known, names like Steinway, FAO Schwarz. Everybody knows these names.
Q: What new things will New Yorkers learn about Green-Wood from your book?
A: These names like [Horace] Greeley, Peter Cooper, we learn these as children and over the years, the accomplishments of these people become vague. I think this reacquaints them with the history of New York.
Q: How much time did you spend exploring the cemetery while writing?
A: I went there several days a week and walked the grounds and it was so amazing, even in the winter. You would just turn a corner and discover something.
Mosca will lead a cemetery trolley tour based on her book on Nov. 23 at 1 p.m., followed by an author Q & A, $20 for the tour, $30 for the tour and a copy of the book. Green-Wood Cemetery, Arcadia Publishing, $19.99.