New York Marble Cemetery

Address

41 1/2 2nd Ave
New York, New York 10003

Phone
(516) 922-7345
Religious Affiliation
Non-denominational
Active
Yes
Hours
Sunday 12:00 PM to 4:00 PM
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Description

The New York Marble Cemetery, initially incorporated in 1830, was the first non-sectarian burial place in New York City open to the public. Its popularity was so great that another one – the New York City Marble Cemetery – was soon built just around the corner. Although there are many similarities between the two, they have always been independent of each other. The entrance to this cemetery is through two pairs of wrought iron gates in a narrow alley, affording just a glimpse of the grounds, at what was once known as 41½ Second Avenue. The quiet, half-acre site on lower Manhattan chosen because it was on the northern edge of development and was in an area which already had several church cemeteries. In response to fears about yellow fever outbreaks, recent legislation had outlawed earth graves, so marble vaults the size of small rooms were built ten feet underground in the excavated interior of the block bounded by Second Avenue, Second Street, Third Street, and the Bowery. Access to the 156 family vaults was by the removal of stone slabs set below the grade of the lawn. Vaults are in pairs; no catacombs or passages are connecting them. No markers were placed on the ground; instead, marble plaques set into the cemetery’s long north and south walls give the names of the families interred nearby. It is a New York City Landmark as of 1969 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.

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