Does this time of year get you thinking about where you’d like to spend the afterlife? Would a swanky Manhattan address be to your liking? If so, you’d better act fast. There are only two burial plots left on the island and they’re currently on the market for $350,000 each.
Daily Intelligencer reports that the New York Marble Cemetery (not to be confused with the New York City Marble Cemetery–more on that here) in the East Village has two available family vaults that can hold about a dozen descendants (“each generation gains some space as the previous ones turn to dust”). The Trinity Cemetery & Mausoleum on West 153rd Street has a few inground burial plots vacant, but they’re reserved for “VIPs;” those at the Marble Cemetery are the only ones being freely sold.
The New York Marble Cemetery was founded in 1830, in response to the yellow fever and cholera outbreaks, as the city’s first non-sectarian, public burial ground. As 6sqft previously reported, “People feared being buried just a few feet below ground, and public health legislation outlawed earthen burials…Therefore, [developer] Perkins Nichols saw a market for underground burial vaults.” And so it’s here in the interior of the block bound by Second Street, Third Street, Second Avenue, and the Bowery that 156 Tuckahoe marble vaults holding 2,100 persons remain.
The vaults are the size of a small room and have arched ceilings. Stone slabs on the ground mark and provide access to each of them, and their “residents” are outlined in marble plaques set into the cemetery’s north and south walls.
Aerial view of a wedding in the cemetery via Heron and Hummingbird
Back in 1830, it cost $250 to buy a vault, which was the equivalent to “a good saddle horse,” five acres of land on Long Island, or the salary of a servant for an entire year. But Caroline DuBois, “president of the board and future occupant of vault No. 54,” thinks today’s rate is a fair price. She also thinks “it would be the perfect gift for a hedge-fund billionaire to give his sweetheart.” The cemetery has open hours once a month during the spring and summer and welcomed guests last weekend for Open House New York. But DuBois and fellow trustee Robert Breck Denny are taking a subtle approach to finding vault buyers. “We are looking for someone with strong ties to New York,” Denny said, with Dubois adding that it’s going to be a long process.
[Via Daily Intelligencer]
- Peeking into the East Village’s Marble Cemeteries
- Grave Concerns: Do Cemeteries Affect Real Estate Prices in New York?
- INTERVIEW: Melinda Hunt Memorializes the Unclaimed New Yorkers Buried on Hart Island
- America’s Oldest and Largest Pet Cemetery Is in Upstate NY
Neighborhoods : East Village