Green-Wood is a living cemetery that brings people closer to the world as it is and was, by memorializing the dead and bringing to life the art, history, and natural beauty of New York City.
Founded in 1838 and now a National Historic Landmark, Green-Wood was one of the first rural cemeteries in America. By the early 1860s, it had earned an international reputation for its magnificent beauty and became the prestigious place to be buried, attracting 500,000 visitors a year, second only to Niagara Falls as the nation’s greatest tourist attraction. Crowds flocked there to enjoy family outings, carriage rides, and sculpture viewing in the finest of first generation American landscapes. Green-Wood’s popularity helped inspire the creation of public parks, including New York City’s Central and Prospect Parks.
Green-Wood is 478 spectacular acres of hills, valleys, glacial ponds, and paths, throughout which exists one of the largest outdoor collections of nineteenth- and twentieth-century statuary and mausoleums. Four seasons of beauty from century-and-a-half-old trees offer a peaceful oasis to visitors, as well as its 570,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Jean-Michel Basquiat, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, Civil War generals, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, and inventors.
A magnet for history buffs and bird watchers, Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail, and a registered member of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary System.
On September 27, 2006, Green-Wood was designated a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior, which recognized its national significance in art, architecture, landscaping, and history.
After almost two centuries, Green-Wood is as beautiful as it was at its founding. But such historic beauty is fragile. Time and weather have taken their toll on marble sculpture, granite monuments, brownstone mausoleums, cast-iron signs, and landscaped parkland.
Video from Blueprint NYC
Established in 1999, The Green-Wood Historic Fund’s mission is to maintain The Green-Wood Cemetery’s monuments and buildings of historical, cultural, and architectural significance; advance public knowledge and appreciation of this significance; and preserve the natural habitat and grasslands of one of New York City’s first green spaces. With funding from memberships and donations, The Historic Fund not only preserves the past to enrich our future, but keeps a vibrant presence in our current time by presenting open-to-the-public events which include themed walking and trolley tours, art installations, and special seasonal events.