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7 unusual cemeteries in New York City

Cemeteries are not just for the grieving or the morbid. They are often bucolic places secreted away amid the noise of the city. They can even offer settings for reflection and rest, and some attract tourists seeking the tombstones of the departed famous.

There are dozens of cemeteries in the five boroughs, from the majestic to the humble. Here are seven that are among the most unusual.

Lawrence Graveyard

The Lawrence family, prominent New Yorkers who included
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

The Lawrence family, prominent New Yorkers who included a mayor and a president of the New York Stock Exchange, established this family burial in 1830 on a favorite picnic spot in Bayside, Queens. A report in support on its historic importance describes the plot as “dotted with a variety of headstones, some of them impressively handsome in form and style.”

How to get there: The cemetery is located at 35th Street and 20th Avenue in Bayside.

Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum

This 22-acre resting ground stands out for one
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

This 22-acre resting ground stands out for one reason: It’s the only cemetery still accepting new eternal residents in Manhattan. Mayor Ed Koch, Harlem Renaissance author Ralph Ellison and Jerry Orbach of “Law and Order” fame are all interred at the cemetery that opened at Broadway and 155th Street in 1843.

How to get there: The main gate is between Broadway and Riverside on 153rd Street.

First Shearith Israel Graveyard

This graveyard, which dates back to 1683, is
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

This graveyard, which dates back to 1683, is considered the oldest Jewish cemetery in the United States. The small plots are highly regarded as relics of the city’s earliest history. Members of First Shearith Israel Synagogue, the first Jewish congregation in North America, established it to replace an original graveyard. The location of the old graveyard is unknown.

How to get there: The graveyard is at 55-57 St. James Place, near Worth Street in lower Manhattan.

Friends' Cemetery in Prospect Park

Few people probably know about this 15-acre cemetery
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Few people probably know about this 15-acre cemetery tucked in a secluded, wooded area to the southeast of Prospect Park’s Long Meadow. Named for the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), its most famous resident is probably actor Montgomery Clift.

How to get there: The cemetery is close to the entrance at Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Street, in Windsor Terrace.

Fordham Cemetery

Fordham Cemetery at Fordham University in the Bronx
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Fordham Cemetery at Fordham University in the Bronx was long rumored to be a “phantom graveyard,” with tombstones but no remains. But researchers have disproved that, documenting how the cemetery is the final resting place for nineteenth-century Jesuits, seminarians, students and workers.

How to get there: It's located on the campus of Fordham University.

Amiable Child Monument

This simple marble monument at Riverside Park marks
Photo Credit: Flickr/Buzz Andersen

This simple marble monument at Riverside Park marks the grave of St. Claire Pollock, a 5-year-old child who died on July 1797. Historians believe he took a fatal plunge from the cliff overlooking the Hudson River and that the owner of what would become parkland, possibly his uncle, decided to bury him near where he died. He referred to the boy as a “favorite child.” A quote from Job is inscribed on the pedestal: “Man that is born of woman is of a few days, and full of trouble. He cometh forth like a flower and is cut down: he fleeth also as a shadow, and continueth not.”

How to get there: The monument is behind Grant's Tomb at 124th Street near Riverside Drive.

Marine Cemetery at Silver Lakes Golf Course

Irish immigrants who fled their country’s Potato Famine
Photo Credit: Emilio Guerra

Irish immigrants who fled their country’s Potato Famine are thought to be buried in unmarked graves under the 18th fairway of this Staten Island golf course. A plaque embedded on a boulder refers to it as “The Forgotten Burial Ground.” The cemetery was in operation between 1849 and 1858.

How to get there: Silver Lake Park is on Staten Island's north shore at Forest Avenue, Victory Boulevard and Clove Road.

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