BY MARTHA WILKIE | For an affordable (for the East Village) $350,000, you can buy a place and never have to move again. The catch? It’s a marble burial vault located beneath 3 feet of soil.
New York Marble Cemetery (not to be confused with the New York City Marble Cemetery nearby) is a private cemetery founded in 1831. Epidemics prompted the city to ban burials below 14th St., and the vaults were offered as a safe alternative.
Descendants of the original owners are entitled to be interred there, although the last one was in 1937 (check the Web site for your ancestors). Because of the complex ownership scheme, legally, the cemetery couldn’t be relocated and will be there for eternity.
For the first time in decades, the nonprofit cemetery association is offering two vaults for sale. It wasn’t an easy process. Caroline DuBois, the association’s president, is a direct descendant of Cornelius DuBois, an original owner.
“In order to reclaim a vault, it had to be empty,” she explained. “It was the style of the day to move remains when a family relocated. We had to research the genealogy and prove there were no possible heirs, post legal notices, and, finally, get permission from the State of New York.”
The cemetery is a landscaped, walled garden hidden behind a locked gate. No headstones, but worn stone plaques line the masonry walls. Since the vaults are sealed, a loved one could be interred wrapped in a shroud or in a wicker basket.
DuBois is passionate about the cemetery’s history. She plans to join her forebears someday.
“I’ll be the fifth generation in our vault,” she declared.
The garden may be rented for events —but requests for morbid gatherings like a midnight vampire party will be politely turned down. Weddings are popular.
“Often the mother-in-law objects, but once she sees the garden in person, she’s charmed,” DuBois said.
The public is invited to visit this “little garden in a big city” on “Open Gate Days”; the next one is Sun., June 30. For more information, visit MarbleCemetery.org.
If you’re not shopping for a vault, perhaps you might be interested in some of these offerings:
A rental studio looking for a tenant boasts generous outdoor space — a roof deck and patio perfect for summer drinks with friends. $2,150.
A furnished two-bedroom, one-bath rental features an ornamental fireplace. $3,000.
An attractive one-bedroom, one-bath with exposed brick and an eat-in-kitchen is on the market for $565,000
A bright one-bedroom, one-bath, with furnished roof deck, dazzles with Chrysler Building views. $600,000.