Cemeteries are like indexes of a city’s history, listing the names of its deceased from famous to forgotten in an endless litany.
“If you want to survive the 19th century,” Allison Meier wryly observed, “don’t get on a boat or go to the theater.” Meier, who has been giving tours of cemeteries in New York City since 2011 (and is a Hyperallergic staff writer), held aloft a lantern illuminating the granite obelisk marking the mass grave of 103 people who perished in the Brooklyn Theater Fire of 1876.
As a last final statement, artists’ tombstones don’t disappoint. From the wildly eccentric to those that incorporate their own creations, the graves of artists are a fascinating reflection of their work.
Some of the most beautiful sculpture in New York is dark adornment to the city’s cemeteries, stunning reminders of transience conveyed through the semi-permanence of stone and metal. This is the story of Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, one of the most elegant in the country.