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Mapping 13 Of New York City's Hidden Historic Cemeteries

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It's all too easy to walk right by New York's lesser-known burial grounds, which tend to be somewhat run-down?the tombstones eroding; the weeds encroaching?and sandwiched between myriad newer developments that have risen since. Many, too, are in Lower Manhattan, simply because it was the first part of the city to become densely populated. In this attempt to map out some of the city's hard-to-find historic cemeteries, though, we've tried to select sites in different parts of the five boroughs, as well as ones with somewhat quirky or heartfelt backstories (like Riverside Park's Amiable Child's Monument) or valiant preservation battle in their names (like the Brinckerhoff Cemetery in Fresh Meadows). We know we've missed a few, so tell us your favorites in the comments section or hit up the tipline with your favorite hidden resting spots. (You know, the kind for all eternity.) Let the thanatological explorations begin!


· Hidden Cemeteries Around Town [Forgotten NY]
· New York City Cemetery Project [official]
· 40 Secret Gardens, Parks And Green Spaces Hidden Across NYC [Curbed]

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1. New York Marble Cemetery

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Dubbed "the smallest burial ground in Manhattan," Marble Cemetery is surprisingly well-known considering its size and its extremely small and subtle entrance gates. It's apparently the oldest public non-sectarian cemetery in New York City; over 2,000 people were buried in white marble tombs here between 1830 and 1870. Opening hours are limited, so check the website for details.

2. New York City Marble Cemetery

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72 E 2nd St.
New York, NY 10003
(212) 228-6401
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Considering that it's just around the corner, it's no wonder that many confuse the New York City Marble Cemetery with its East Village neighbor, the New York Marble Cemetery. (Go figure, we just hope 19th-century undertakers didn't have the same problem.) Fun fact: former president James Monroe was one of the first folks to be buried here, but his remains were later moved to his home state of Virginia. The cemetery has been around since 1831 and has limited opening hours, so make sure to contact the cemetery via its website if you want to visit.

3. The Amiable Child Monument

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Can it be a cemetery when there's only one person buried there? We think so. Originally erected in 1797 to honor the death of a five-year-old boy (probably because of the dangerous cliffs in this part of the West Side), the Amiable Child Monument has survived to this day despite advocates who wanted to move it when nearby Grant's Tomb was built in the late 19th century. Many believe it is the the only single-person private grave on city-owned land.

4. Prospect Cemetery

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159th St
Jamaica, NY 11433

This 350-year-old burial ground has seen renewed interest lately, primarily as the subject of a documentary in the works, which according to director Peter Riegart's Kickstarter campaign last summer, is meant to chronicle how Prospect Cemetery was saved "from the encroachment of nature, neglect, and vandalism." It's one of the few colonial graveyards left in Queens.

5. Second Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue

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76 W 11th St
New York, NY 10014

This triangular sliver of a cemetery has its unique shape for a reason—it once ran along the now non-existent Milligan Street, but 11th Street's extension to Sixth Avenue in 1830 destroyed half of it. Behind a wall and a ting gate, you'll find a mossy brick path surrounded by about 30 graves, including an above-ground tomb and a striking monolith. It's the second cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America. The congregation also has two other gems. [Photo via Nick Carr of Scouting NY.]

6. Brinckerhoff Cemetery

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182nd St
Queens, NY 11423

After a long battle, preservationists won landmark status for Brinckerhoff Cemetery last summer. Though there are no visible headstones, and the lot sandwiched between two residential houses in Fresh Meadows is overgrown with weeds, there are historical records that prove that the Brinckerhoffs, a notable farming family, had 76 plots here dating from between 1736 and 1872. [Photo via New York City Cemetery Project.]

7. Moore-Jackson Cemetery

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Though it's been in use since the early 1730s, when it was adjacent to a colonial farmhouse owned by the Moore family, the small cemetery fell into disrepair until it was spiffed up in the 90s. (Forgotten NY has all the details.) Scouting NY paid the cemetery a visit in 2009, took tons of photos, and lamented the fact that this bit of NYC history is still pretty rundown. [Photo via Scouting NY.]

8. St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery

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131 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003
(212) 674-0910
Visit Website

Though this church is deemed New York's oldest site of continuous religious practice, and the handsome building itself is the second-oldest church building in Manhattan, few know that resting underneath and tucked on either side are gravestones. One of the city's most famous (and controversial) early politicians, Peter Stuyvesant, is interred there. His farm used to occupy much of the land where the East Village is now. [Photo via Atlas Obscura.]

9. Revolutionary War Cemetery

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Forgotten New York has come up with a stellar list of off-the-beaten-path burial grounds. It includes Bay Ridge's Revolutionary War Cemetery, an 18th-century graveyard for members of the Barkaloo family. Even though the last burial took place in 1848, Ephemeral NY reports that there are fresh flags on some of the headstones. Someone in the neighborhood must be taking good care of them. [reportsPhoto via Ephemeral NY.]

10. The Reformed Church Of Staten Island

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The Cemetery of Staten Island's Reformed Church, which dates all the way back to the late 17th-century Dutch settlers of Port Richmond, is still in use today. Though the church building itself was erected in 1844, the three previous churches on the site date back to an impressively old 1663. Apparently, according to the Staten Island Advance, "[t]he cemetery's decorative hand-carved stone grave markers – in brown and red sandstone – represent some of the oldest forms of sculpture and folk art in colonial America." [Photo via Forgotten NY.]

11. Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum

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550 W 155th St
New York, NY 10031

Despite the fact that Trinity Church's Financial District Location is on everyone's radar —including tourists' —fewer folks know about its awesome uptown outpost. The cemetery on Wall Street had reached capacity by the early 1800s (after 150 years of interments), so the all-powerful Trinity purchased land between Amsterdam Avenue and Riverside Drive and West 153rd and 155th streets, according to Forgotten NY. Many, many notables are buried here, including, most recently, Ed Koch. [Photo via Forgotten NY.]

12. The Cathedral Basilica of St. James

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Jay St
Brooklyn, NY 11201
(718) 852-4002
Visit Website

According the New York City Cemetery Project, St. James was the first Catholic church in Brooklyn. Founded in 1822, it wasn't long until the yard around it became used as a burial ground. Though it's been the site of thousands of burials, the number of tombstones has dwindled over the years, and these days many are flat against the ground rather than perpendicular, making it difficult for passersby to catch wind of the cemetery's presence. [Photo via New York City Cemetery Project.]

13. Joseph Rodman Drake Park

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Hunts Point Ave.
Bronx, NY 10474

Located in Hunt's Point, what's special about this slightly rougher park is that there's an out-of-the-way cemetery right in the middle of it. Inside the wrought-iron gates, you can spot names from prominent Bronx families, which are now street names. It also served as a slave burial ground. [Source: New Yorkers For Parks and NYC Park Advocates; photo via NYC Parks.]

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1. New York Marble Cemetery

USA

Dubbed "the smallest burial ground in Manhattan," Marble Cemetery is surprisingly well-known considering its size and its extremely small and subtle entrance gates. It's apparently the oldest public non-sectarian cemetery in New York City; over 2,000 people were buried in white marble tombs here between 1830 and 1870. Opening hours are limited, so check the website for details.

2. New York City Marble Cemetery

72 E 2nd St., New York, NY 10003

Considering that it's just around the corner, it's no wonder that many confuse the New York City Marble Cemetery with its East Village neighbor, the New York Marble Cemetery. (Go figure, we just hope 19th-century undertakers didn't have the same problem.) Fun fact: former president James Monroe was one of the first folks to be buried here, but his remains were later moved to his home state of Virginia. The cemetery has been around since 1831 and has limited opening hours, so make sure to contact the cemetery via its website if you want to visit.

72 E 2nd St.
New York, NY 10003

3. The Amiable Child Monument

New York, NY

Can it be a cemetery when there's only one person buried there? We think so. Originally erected in 1797 to honor the death of a five-year-old boy (probably because of the dangerous cliffs in this part of the West Side), the Amiable Child Monument has survived to this day despite advocates who wanted to move it when nearby Grant's Tomb was built in the late 19th century. Many believe it is the the only single-person private grave on city-owned land.

4. Prospect Cemetery

159th St, Jamaica, NY 11433

This 350-year-old burial ground has seen renewed interest lately, primarily as the subject of a documentary in the works, which according to director Peter Riegart's Kickstarter campaign last summer, is meant to chronicle how Prospect Cemetery was saved "from the encroachment of nature, neglect, and vandalism." It's one of the few colonial graveyards left in Queens.

159th St
Jamaica, NY 11433

5. Second Cemetery of the Spanish and Portuguese Synagogue

76 W 11th St, New York, NY 10014

This triangular sliver of a cemetery has its unique shape for a reason—it once ran along the now non-existent Milligan Street, but 11th Street's extension to Sixth Avenue in 1830 destroyed half of it. Behind a wall and a ting gate, you'll find a mossy brick path surrounded by about 30 graves, including an above-ground tomb and a striking monolith. It's the second cemetery of the Spanish & Portuguese Synagogue of the Congregation Shearith Israel, the first Jewish congregation in North America. The congregation also has two other gems. [Photo via Nick Carr of Scouting NY.]

76 W 11th St
New York, NY 10014

6. Brinckerhoff Cemetery

182nd St, Queens, NY 11423

After a long battle, preservationists won landmark status for Brinckerhoff Cemetery last summer. Though there are no visible headstones, and the lot sandwiched between two residential houses in Fresh Meadows is overgrown with weeds, there are historical records that prove that the Brinckerhoffs, a notable farming family, had 76 plots here dating from between 1736 and 1872. [Photo via New York City Cemetery Project.]

182nd St
Queens, NY 11423

7. Moore-Jackson Cemetery

Woodside, NY 11377

Though it's been in use since the early 1730s, when it was adjacent to a colonial farmhouse owned by the Moore family, the small cemetery fell into disrepair until it was spiffed up in the 90s. (Forgotten NY has all the details.) Scouting NY paid the cemetery a visit in 2009, took tons of photos, and lamented the fact that this bit of NYC history is still pretty rundown. [Photo via Scouting NY.]

8. St. Mark's Church-in-the-Bowery

131 E 10th St, New York, NY 10003

Though this church is deemed New York's oldest site of continuous religious practice, and the handsome building itself is the second-oldest church building in Manhattan, few know that resting underneath and tucked on either side are gravestones. One of the city's most famous (and controversial) early politicians, Peter Stuyvesant, is interred there. His farm used to occupy much of the land where the East Village is now. [Photo via Atlas Obscura.]

131 E 10th St
New York, NY 10003

9. Revolutionary War Cemetery

NY

Forgotten New York has come up with a stellar list of off-the-beaten-path burial grounds. It includes Bay Ridge's Revolutionary War Cemetery, an 18th-century graveyard for members of the Barkaloo family. Even though the last burial took place in 1848, Ephemeral NY reports that there are fresh flags on some of the headstones. Someone in the neighborhood must be taking good care of them. [reportsPhoto via Ephemeral NY.]

10. The Reformed Church Of Staten Island

Staten Island, NY

The Cemetery of Staten Island's Reformed Church, which dates all the way back to the late 17th-century Dutch settlers of Port Richmond, is still in use today. Though the church building itself was erected in 1844, the three previous churches on the site date back to an impressively old 1663. Apparently, according to the Staten Island Advance, "[t]he cemetery's decorative hand-carved stone grave markers – in brown and red sandstone – represent some of the oldest forms of sculpture and folk art in colonial America." [Photo via Forgotten NY.]

11. Trinity Church Cemetery & Mausoleum

550 W 155th St, New York, NY 10031

Despite the fact that Trinity Church's Financial District Location is on everyone's radar —including tourists' —fewer folks know about its awesome uptown outpost. The cemetery on Wall Street had reached capacity by the early 1800s (after 150 years of interments), so the all-powerful Trinity purchased land between Amsterdam Avenue and Riverside Drive and West 153rd and 155th streets, according to Forgotten NY. Many, many notables are buried here, including, most recently, Ed Koch. [Photo via Forgotten NY.]

550 W 155th St
New York, NY 10031

12. The Cathedral Basilica of St. James

Jay St, Brooklyn, NY 11201

According the New York City Cemetery Project, St. James was the first Catholic church in Brooklyn. Founded in 1822, it wasn't long until the yard around it became used as a burial ground. Though it's been the site of thousands of burials, the number of tombstones has dwindled over the years, and these days many are flat against the ground rather than perpendicular, making it difficult for passersby to catch wind of the cemetery's presence. [Photo via New York City Cemetery Project.]

Jay St
Brooklyn, NY 11201

13. Joseph Rodman Drake Park

Hunts Point Ave., Bronx, NY 10474

Located in Hunt's Point, what's special about this slightly rougher park is that there's an out-of-the-way cemetery right in the middle of it. Inside the wrought-iron gates, you can spot names from prominent Bronx families, which are now street names. It also served as a slave burial ground. [Source: New Yorkers For Parks and NYC Park Advocates; photo via NYC Parks.]

Hunts Point Ave.
Bronx, NY 10474