Green-Wood is historic burial ground in heart of Brooklyn

March 4, 2015 Anthony Izaguirre
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When you walk through the grand, Gothic arches that mark the entrance of Green-Wood Cemetery, you could forget that you’re still in Brooklyn

As one of the first rural cemeteries in the country, Green-Wood was initially intended to give Brooklynites in 1838 a place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city temporarily. And to this day, the intentions have held true. The cemetery still feels more like a park than anything else.

Green-Wood boasts 478 acres of rolling hills and valleys, complete with century-old trees and long, winding pathways that house the cemetery’s 560,000 permanent residents. It’s a permanent “home” to many notable politicians, artists and inventors but the cemetery’s beauty lies in its dedication to the diversity that has always characterized the borough.

Green-Wood’s Common Lots pay tribute to the everyday New Yorkers that made this borough great. It honors the Civil War veterans, merchants and immigrants that offered their blood, sweat and tears to Brooklyn. Time and weather have taken a toll on the smaller, less ornate gravestones of the Common Lots but the staff has taken care to restore and retouch them to preserve the legacy of these indispensable New Yorkers.

Getting lost in Green-Wood isn’t hard to do. Wander long enough and you may find yourself stumbling upon legendary spots like Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn and the site of the largest battle in the Revolutionary War.

The cemetery is a go-to site for history buffs and was designated as a National Historic Landmark by the United States Department of the Interior in 2006. It holds thousands of hand-carved bronze, marble and granite monuments that indicate the gravesites of Green-Wood’s many notable residents.

Last year, more than 200,000 people explored Green-Wood’s seemingly endless, sprawling grounds. The cemetery offers guided tours that touch upon themes of historical New York culture, landscape design, art and more. Or, if you’re feeling more adventurous, take an unsupervised stroll around the cemetery free of charge.

Green-Wood Cemetery is located at 500 25th Street. Visit for cemetery hours and offers.

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