Sunday, June 22, 2014


In the heart of Brooklyn there is one of the most beautiful cemeteries in the world.Brooklyn and all its culture, and quiet sanctuary.  The supposed father of baseball, as well as many politicians, a famous minister, his mistress, Mafioso, celebrities, one of whom is the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, all rest here.    There’s a chapel where they not only hold funeral services, but weddings.
  It’s a sculpture garden – Steinway’s tomb has a grand piano – a history of the people of

Green-wood was created in 1838 as a rural cemetery – meaning that it was not a church-yard cemetery.  The churches in Manhattan were running out of space and Green-Wood was built to accommodate the need for burying the population.  It is 478 acres and has more than a half a million residents – some unknown (more about that later).

There’s a pond at the cemetery that is part of a glacial lake.  The glacier covered most of Brooklyn, but stopped at that point.  It was used as a park for picnicking in the 19th century before it became popular as a graveyard.

I visited Green-Wood Cemetery quite a few times.  I even taught a writing class there that I called Cemetery Plots.  Green-Wood hosts a lot of events including dance recitals and play, and they sell books and memorabilia. 

One of the most interesting events is the Halloween Night Tour.  Of course, it takes place on October 31.  There is a tour guide taking you around to various tombs that are open and lit with candles, although you are requested to bring your own flashlight.    

The scariest place on the tour was the crypt.  It is underground with only a brick façade showing at the end.  The crypt opens through a wrought iron gate so that you can always see inside even when the gate is locked.  Of course, it’s very dark as you enter a long hallway and smells moldy. 

On either side of the hall, there are doorways open to small rooms.  The rooms each have about a dozen places for coffins.  The ones that have coffins in them are sealed.  The others, are completely empty and dark.  [You can see something similar in the walls of the cemeteries near the French Quarter in New Orleans.  Homeless people climb the fences and sleep in those open crypts.]

When the tour is over, the crypt is locked for the rest of the year.

Post by Alana Cash  

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