On West 11th Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, there's a slice of often-overlooked New York City history: a thin, triangular graveyard dating to 1805. The curious little cemetery sits behind a brick wall and iron fence, and from the sidewalk, it looks like it could be a garden or back patio. But inside, a brick path is surrounded by about 30 graves, including an above-ground tomb and a striking monolith. A sign marks the site as the second cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America, and Nick Carr of ScoutingNY dug up why it's such an odd, three-sided shape.
The cemetery ran along the now, non-existant Milligan Street, and when it was built, 11th Street did not reach all the way to Sixth Avenue. Then in 1830, 11th Street was extended, destroying half of the cemetery, leaving only the remaining triangle. Most of the graves are so worn they are completely illegible, but the grave of Ehpraim Hart, a Revolutionary War veteran, has been restored. Click through for a lot more photos:
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