Greenwood Heights

Green-Wood’s president supports landmarking of ‘structures,’ but not the entire cemetery

Eye On Real Estate

September 9, 2015 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Green-Wood Cemetery was calendared for consideration as a city landmark in 1981. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Green-Wood. Landmarking. If you think they go together like a horse and carriage, think again.

Green-Wood Cemetery’s head honcho opposes designation of the entire graveyard as a city landmark, the Brooklyn Eagle has learned.

The cemetery’s president, Richard Moylan, said in a statement prepared in response to this columnist’s query that only “architecturally significant Green-Wood owned structures” should be granted city landmark status.

Green-Wood was founded in 1838. The issue of whether to landmark it has been in limbo since the city Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) calendared the famous 478-acre Brooklyn burial ground for designation consideration in 1981. Now, in an effort to clear a backlog of 95 calendared properties citywide, the LPC will hold a hearing on Oct. 8 about Green-Wood and six other Brooklyn sites.

This is Moylan’s statement in its entirety:

“Green-Wood, a National Historic Landmark, has a longstanding and strong commitment to the historic preservation of our monuments, buildings, statuary and landscape. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.

“In fact, our iconic Gothic Revival main gate (1863), designed by Richard Upjohn and his son Richard M. Upjohn, was designated a city landmark in 1966. Green-Wood is currently working closely with the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to restore another 19th-Century landmark, the Weir Greenhouse, which we purchased in 2012.

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“Green-Wood has deep and abiding respect for the Landmarks Preservation Commission and its extraordinary efforts to protect New York City’s architectural and historic buildings and sites.

“While we are flattered that the cemetery is being considered for landmark status, we oppose designating the entire cemetery — including grave sites — which would impose onerous, expensive and impractical restrictions on our ability to function as an active cemetery. Designation of our burial areas would create significant practical difficulties for our continued operations and for the families of those who choose Green-Wood as their place of final repose.

“We are working with the staff of the LPC to identify which architecturally significant Green-Wood owned structures could be appropriately recognized consistent with our mission.

“For more than 100 years, our trustees have honored their commitment to be careful stewards of our heritage. We remain committed to this mission. We ask the LPC and the entire community to join with us to support appropriate designation at Green-Wood while allowing us to continue to meet the needs of our families.”

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