|Last month whilst
on a trip to New York City, I took the time to visit Green-Wood Cemetery
in Brooklyn. As I stepped off the noisy, chaotic streets of Brooklyn
into the acres of quiet tranquility sitting above Brooklyn, it was like
stepping into the ĎSecret Gardení.
The history of Green-Wood Cemetery
Green-Wood cemetery originally
opened in 1838, and over the last 170 years, over 600,000 well-to-do New
Yorkers have been buried here. Covering some 478 acres, including
the highest point in Brooklyn rising to 200 feet above sea level, Green-Wood
sprawls out over knolls and hills overlooking the city below.
|The cemetery was the brain-child
of Henry Evelyn Pierrepont, a Brooklyn social leader in the 1830's, and
was as popular a tourist attraction back then, as it is now. By the
middle of the 19th century Green-Wood was attracting 50,000 visitors a
year and rivalled Niagara Falls as the nationís greatest tourist attraction.
Families would flock to the cemetery to enjoy the green open space, taking
carriage rides around the pathways and appreciating the fine sculpture
of the statues and memorial markers. Indeed the popularity of Green-Wood
Cemetery inspired New York City to build further large green space areas
in the city including Central Park and Prospect Park.
The land the cemetery was
built upon is steeped in history marking some of the momentous moments
in the nationís short but turbulent history. The Battle of Brooklyn
was fought in 1776 on the very land that is now consecrated as Green-Wood
It is this rich heritage
that spurred the U.S. Department of the Interior to designate Green-Wood
a National Historic Landmark in 2006. The cemetery is home to over
7,000 trees, numerous hills and valleys, glacial ponds and miles of winding
pathways. Visitors not only enjoy the tranquil oasis of green space
in the midst of the city, the site is also a bird-watching haven.
Paul Goldberger, the famous architectural critic, once stated that "it
is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon the Fifth Avenue, to take
his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood".
around the vast acreage.
You donít have to have a morbid fascination in death or graveyards to find
Green-Wood worth a visit. The myriad of interesting crypt structures,
monuments and statues plunge you into a time gone-by and resonate with
those scenes of graveyards that feature in the imagination of most of us!
||The ostentatious tone is
set by the auspicious gothic gates to Green-Wood as you enter uphill to
the entranceway. It is said that Green-Wood Cemetery was inspired
by Mount Auburn Cemetery in Massachusetts. This was the first English
style rural cemetery which broke away from the traditional harsh view of
death embodied by church-affiliated graveyards and Colonial-era burial
grounds. Green-Wood, like Mount Auburn before it, is a non-secular
and more aesthetic, natural landscape way sought to create a beautifully-designed
environment that was also a final resting place of souls.
Green-Wood Cemetery today
Today, aside from still being
an operating cemetery with a crematory on-site and a chapel, Green-Wood
also hosts events and offers guided trolley tours
What is the Cost of interment
at Green-Wood Cemetery?
Being buried at such an auspicious
site does not come cheap, and like many things in NYC, real estate is expensive.
The costs below are merely the charges from the cemetery for interment,
and do not include any funeral service provider charges.
Add to this an opening and closing
fee for the grave, vault or mausoleum which is $1,805.00 for an adult grave
site and $936.00 for a child (under 10). In addition to this there
are extra incremental fees if a burial is required at a weekend or for
other special circumstances, such as at an extra depth or in a customary
A single burial plot (that will
hold up to three burials) costs between $12,000 to $14,000
Mausoleum Sites (756 sq. ft.)
Community Mausoleums -
Single entombment costs between $20,000 to $34,500
Community Mausoleums -
Double (two entombments) costs between $30,600 to $68,000
Cremation Niches from $1,850
Cremation Urn Sites from $3,500
The opening and closing
fee for a cremation niche is $199.00.
The fee for a direct cremation
at Green-Wood crematory costs $377.00
minimum charge for a single
grave is $695.00 and for a memorial proportioned for two graves is $1,383.00.
So allís told a single burial plot at Green-Wood, with interment on a week-day
and no special requests, with a single memorial marker erected can cost
$14,500 (without the cost of the headstone included).
Memorial Monuments in Green-Wood
There is a whole array of interesting
monuments decorating the grave plots around the cemetery. Most cemeteries
have strict regulations about the erection of memorial markers within their
grounds and Green-Wood is no different. What many folks do not realize
is that the cemetery can not only regulate the type of marker you can erect,
they will also charge you a fee to ensure it is correctly erected so as
not to subside. Generally a period of time elapses between the burial
and when the marker can be erected to allow the ground to fully settle.
Green-Wood lays a foundation
for any memorial marker to be erected and this foundation lies as deep
as the gravesite itself. The cemetery charges for the laying of the
foundation. This is charged on a per cubic foot basis but the
Horace Greely, Henry Steinway
along with countless Civil War Generals, Baseball legends, 19th Century
inventors, important political figures, artists and entertainers.
Famous graves in Green-Wood
The wealthy and the famous of
New York have chosen to be buried here for nearly two centuries, so this
is certainly an important heritage site in Brooklyn, and you can positively
feel the history as you amble around Green-Wood. Early regulations
of the cemetery prevented anyone executed for a crime, or dying in jail,
from being buried there but the family of the infamous Boss Tweed somehow
managed to circumvent this rule and lay him to rest in Green-Wood Cemetery
despite him dying in Ludlow Street Jail.
Some of the monuments are
very auspicious, and represent the wealth of New York past and present.
There are too many notable residents to mention but a few of the most notable
famous burials at Green-Wood include: Leonard Bernstein, Henry Chadwick,
Jean-Michel Basquait, Louis Comfort Tiffany,
If as Paul Goldberger claimed
you are a New Yorker who wishes ďto sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood",
then you may want to set up that burial fund now! However, as a rich
heritage site and a wonderfully interesting green space in Brooklyn, I
would wholeheartedly recommend a visit to Green-Wood as a must for any
New Yorker and anyone visiting the city.
||Expert Author: Sara
Sara is the Editor in Chief
for US Funerals Online and has been researching and writing about the death
care industry in the US for the last 5 years.