Finding a good apartment in Manhattan may be a Sisyphean effort at times, but it pales in comparison to finding a final resting place in Manhattan. There simply aren't many cemeteries on the island, and the ones that remain are either full or, in the case of Trinity Church's uptown cemetery, open to only the most exclusive of, um, customers. But the New York Marble Cemetery on Second Avenue (not to be confused with the New York City Marble Cemetery, just around the corner on 2nd Street) has been quietly selling its two remaining burial plots for some time now, each for the asking price of $350,000. New York magazine recently spent a day at the cemetery to see what it's like to try and find a buyer for those vaults—and, predictably, it's not easy.
Caroline DuBois, the president of NYMC's board (and a future resident of the cemetery, in vault no. 54), is leading the charge for the sale. For most New Yorkers, the $350,000 price tag is cost-prohibitive, even though each vault can accommodate up to a dozen people. DuBois and her associate, Robert Breck Denny, told NYMag that they're looking for customers who have "strong ties to New York" and "an upward-mobility checkbook." DuBois even said that a vault could "be the perfect gift for a hedge-fund billionaire to give his sweetheart." (Maybe a little morbid, though?)
There is historical precedent for the burial plots going to one-percenters: When the cemetery opened in the 19th century, a vault cost about $250, or the cost of "five acres on Long Island," according to DuBois. And really, when you think about it, it is just another piece of property—albeit one that you won't get to enjoy all that much, even if you believe there is an afterlife. (But compared to $65 million townhouses, $350,000 almost seems like a steal for a piece of Manhattan real estate.)
· How Do You Sell the Last Two Burial Plots in Manhattan? [New York]
· Mapping 13 Of New York City's Hidden Historic Cemeteries [Curbed]