Welcome to a special Outdoors Week edition of All in the Details, a semi-regular series in which New York City photographers offer us glimpses of little-noticed, under-appreciated architectural elements. Today, Bob Estremera uncovers hidden parts of Green-Wood Cemetery.
In the 1860s, Green-Wood Cemetery was the second-most popular tourist attraction in the United States, after Niagara Falls, receiving 500,000 visitors a year. The scores of folks who passed through those grand Gothic gates didn't always treat it as a somber burial ground, thoughit was a green lung ideal for leisure activities, like promenading and even debauchery-filled parties in a not-yet-occupied mausoleum. Today, the cemetery's 478 acres hold not only 560,000 permanent residents (including greats like composer Leonard Bernstein and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat) and the highest point in Brooklyn, but also an endless number of beautiful pockets that sometimes go unnoticed. Opened in 1838, Green-Wood houses a mind-boggling array of 19th- and 20th-century statues and mausoleumsall of which is outdoors, and much of which is easily glossed over, perhaps because of the sheer size of the place. From columns of all stripes to angel sculptures in every pose, embellished archways to enigmatic inscriptions, the cemetery remains one of New York City's most special al fresco spaces.