Cities of the Dead

This page is off my theme of the "wilder" areas in NYC..... but these are places that are passed by and rarely explored.
(this page is updated periodically with new photos)

The faces of Old Montefiore; gravestone portraits from the largest Jewish cemetery in NY

The National Cemetery was opened in 1862 in Cypress Hills to bury Civil War soldiers who had died in nearby military hospitals, it was expanded in the following century to inter soldiers from subsequent wars. It pre-dates Arlington by two years and is the only national cemetery in New York City:

Looking south from the WWII memorial
A monument to 25 French sailors who died in American waters during WWI


Cypress Hills Cemetery was founded in 1848 the first non-sectarian, non-denominational cemetery corporation organized in New York City, the 225 acres straddle Brooklyn and Queens. When the land was cleared for the cemetery cannonballs and other Revolutionary War artifacts from the 1776 Battle of Long Island were found on the grounds.

Female statues;



19th century Jewish section;


The Civil War Monument in Calvary Cemetery was built in 1866 and contains the remains of 21 Catholic soldiers who's names have been lost to history:

Most of the land in Calvary was originally part of the Alsop Farm, their 18th century family burial ground is the only part that remained, they are the only Protestants buried here:


Woodland and Silver Lake Cemeteries

Woodland Cemetery is one of the oldest cemeteries on Staten Island, originally established in 1854 through a grant of land comprising six acres by John King Vanderbilt (a first cousin of "Commodore" Cornelius Vanderbilt)  to the German Mission Church.
In 1869, a group of Staten Island residents, interested in establishing a cemetery organized themselves as the "Woodland Cemetery Association." In October 1870, the Association obtained all of the property previously set aside as a cemetery from the German Mission Church and, a few years later, additional property was obtained, bringing the Cemetery to its current size of about ten acres.

Many of the family plots were enclosed by posts and railings with ornate iron gates, few are still intact.

Trees and vines have overrun the plots and have upended many of the monuments and headstones

Silver Lake Cemetery was the first cemetery purchased by the Hebrew Free Burial Association, which since its inception in the 1880's has buried over 60,000 indigent Jews.
Thousands from the Lower East Side were buried here. Silver Lake cemetery was filled by 1909.

1 comment:

  1. In May, 1893, my uncle Fischel was born in Division Street, New York. On 5th May, 1894, he died. His twin brothers were born on the 27th May and two days later, their mother Freida/Fanny died. My grandfather was left with a three-year-old and the twins and all the grief of losing two family members within a few weeks in a country where he had only lived for under three years.
    Both Fischel and his mother, Freida, were buried in Silver Lake. Their surname was Borkovsky...maybe Berkowsky. I live in Adelaide, South Australia and, although I have searched online, I've not been able to find any record of their burials except on their death certificates, copies of which I now have.
    Are there any records of their burials? If their gravestone/s are still legible, is it possible for someone to take a photograph for me. I can reciprocate if needed with a photo or two from the Jewish section of Centennial Park Cemetery in Adelaide. Thank you. Myra W.