Call me slightly morbid, but I love cemeteries and Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is the perfect place for history, strolling and the best view of Manhattan.
Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood Cemetery was one of the first rural cemeteries in America. By the 1860s, it had earned an international reputation for its beauty and became the prestigious place to be buried. Attracting 500,000 visitors a year, it was second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s top tourist attraction. Crowds flocked there to enjoy family outings and carriage rides. It was Green-Wood’s popularity that helped inspire the creation of public parks like Central Park and Prospect Park.
Stroll the grounds on your own using the free map they’ll give you at the entrance or download their mobile app. Or take a tour in one of their trolleys. Either way, you’ll discover 175 years of history among the 478 acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds and paths with one of the largest outdoor collections of 19th and 20th century mausoleums. A magnet for history buffs and bird watchers, Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds) and is a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail.
Everyone who was anybody in 19th-century New York wanted to be buried there, and they were. Green-Wood Cemetery has more than 560,000 permanent residents, including musician Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed (the crooked politician), Charles Ebbets (owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers), artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany (designer of Tiffany lamps), Horace Greeley (the founder and editor of the New York Tribune), baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, inventors, Civil War generals and other veterans.
Green-Wood Cemetary 500 25th St, Brooklyn, NY 11232