Tombs & Catacombs of Green-Wood Cemetery

Green-Wood Cemetery is best known as the final resting place of famous New Yorkers like Boss Tweed, the Steinway family, and Leonard Bernstein, but it’s also a treasure trove of hidden sculpture and architecture.

Established in 1838, Green-Wood Cemetery became a destination for American and European tourists. Every year, thousands flocked to the cemetery to enjoy its lush gardens, rolling hills, and stately tombs. Unfortunately, during New York City’s financial woes of the late sixties and early seventies, the cemetery restricted public access and lost its reputation as an urban oasis of art and nature.

Over the last decade, however, the cemetery has made efforts to invite the public back inside, hosting concerts, film screenings, and tours. Still, access to the most fascinating sites — inside the tombs and catacombs — remains extremely limited. That’s why we called Jeff Richman, Green-Wood Cemetery’s historian, who wields the massive, dungeon-like key ring that unlocks the granite portals behind which lie the dead.

We’d like to thank everyone who helped make this video possible, including Jeff Richman, Green-Wood Cemetery, David Rumsey Map Collection, and Christian Virant and Zhang Jian of The Buddha Machine.