The New York City Cemetery Project documents the history of the city’s graveyards. Hundreds of cemeteries—including small family burial grounds and churchyards, as well as larger cemeteries containing hundreds, thousands, even millions of bodies—have existed throughout the five boroughs since the 17th century. Study of these cemeteries, whether they have been lost in time or are still in existence, provides much regarding the history of this ever-evolving city and its people, and offers some intriguing answers to the question: What does the city do with its dead?
This project, and this site, is the work of Mary French, an anthropologist and museum & archives professional who has been exploring and researching the city’s cemeteries since moving to NYC in 2006. Information for about 250 cemeteries has been gathered thus far and is gradually being added to this site. Inquiries, comments, etc., are welcome and may be directed to: email@example.com
“My father once told me we was all born of blood and tribulation; so then, too, was our great city. But for those of us who had lived and died in them furious days . . . it was like everything we knew was mightily swept away. And no matter what they did to build this city back up again – for the rest of time – it would be like nobody even knew we was ever here.” –Amsterdam Vallon (Leonardo DiCaprio) in the evocative final scene of Martin Scorsese’s Gangs of New York, where we see modern Manhattan rise in the background as the cemetery in the foreground disappears.