In the 19th century, burials in Manhattan were officially banned and cemeteries began popping up all over Queens to accommodate the cities growing, and waning, population. For centuries, this borough has been home to cemeteries that stretch for miles along rolling hills and their thousands of gravesites.
In many densely-populated neighborhoods, the burials grounds occupy the high ground because they predate the residential necessity of the location. In the case of New York's cemeteries, these graveyards house the ancestors of many of the former occupants of these neighborhoods.
Some may find the cemeteries creepy, but they are also a beautiful reminder of the storied history of New York and all the people who once lived there. If you're interested in discovering obscure histories, the cemeteries of Queens may just be worth a visit.
Calvary Cemetery, located along the border of Long Island City and Woodside in Queens, was the first cemetery established in New York City outside of Manhattan and consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848.
Since its foundation, Calvary Cemetery has acquired more land and been split into four major divisions: Old, Second, Third, and Fourth Calvary Cemeteries. The cemetery now extends over 365 acres, which have been divided into 71 sections, and people are still buried in plots here today, though the land is now fully developed.
Saint John's Cemetery is one of nine official Roman Catholic burial sites in New York City and is among the largest cemeteries in New York state, stretching from Middle Village in Queens to Brooklyn.
Established in 1879, this massive cemetery is the burial site of a number of high-society individuals from New York's past including former New York Governor Mario Cuomo, crime boss Lucky Luciano, and America's first female Vice Presidential nominee Geraldine Ferraro.
The Flushing Cemetery stretches over 75 acres and still offers both traditional burials and internments of cremains in a Memorial Garden. This cemetery was first established in 1853 and has since served as the final resting place for over 41,000 people; among those buried in Flushing are Louis Armstrong and Dizzy Gillespie.
This smaller Catholic cemetery was first established during the Civil War, during the summer of 1862. Father O’Beime, the pastor of St. Michael Parish acquired six acres of farmland for fallen soldiers whose families lived nearby. This cemetery now encompasses nearly 54 acres of land and still offers Catholic burials on site for families that live within the confines of the diocese.
This Jewish cemetery in Maspeth has been offering funeral services and burial plots to the New York City Jewish Community for over 100 years. Since the first burial in 1893, there have been over 210,000 burials to date. Its most notable landmark is the memorial for the victims of the 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire.
Founded in 1850 and incorporated in 1852, the All Faiths Cemetery in Middle Village was established as a way for impoverished communities to be able to afford burial sites in the city by the Reverend Dr. F. W. Geissenhainer. The cemetery is home to a number of interesting gravesites including Civil War veterans and descendants of George Washington.
Although the main entrance is in Brooklyn, most of Cypress Hills Cemetery is within the borough of Queens in the neighborhood of Glendale. From Queens, you can access the cemetery via another entrance on Cooper Avenue and 68th Street.
This 225-acre cemetery features two mausoleums and a number of amazing tombstones from its 160-year history. Cypress Hill Cemetery as first developed in 1848, the year of the Gold Rush and was the first of its kind: one for all faiths.
This Jewish cemetery in Flushing was first established in 1909 and still acts as a full-service cemetery that offers burials as well as cremation services for members of New York City's Jewish Community. Since its founding, Mount Hebron has conducted over 217,000 burials and established a number of Memorial Walls to commemorate the dead among the Jewish Community.
Cedar Grove Cemetery borders Mount Hebron in flushing but offers funeral services to all faiths. It was first established in 1893, but has significantly less space than the Jewish cemetery with only 36,000 burials to date.
People of many different nationalities and religions are buried within the walls of Cedar Grove including African, South American, Armenian, Chinese, Indian, and Russian nationals who moved to the United States in the early 20th century.
Established in 1875, the Maple Grove Cemetery in Kew Gardens was the first to be created through an association rather than direct funding. Since then, it has served as the final resting place for a number of noteworthy New Yorkers including singer Lavern Baker, radio pioneer Alfred Grebe, and cartoonist Martin Branner.
Mount Carmel, named after a Biblical mountain, was established over 100 years ago in 1906. It currently stretches over 100 acres near the border of Queens and Brooklyn in Glendale and still services the Jewish Community of New York City.
Mount Carmel offers a final resting place to over 85,000 Jewish people, including many important figures in art and politics for Jewish Americans like Sholem Aleichem, Meyer London, Jacob Adler, and Abraham Cahan.
This beautiful "garden cemetery" features winding roads and lush vegetation carefully curated for over 150 years. In Maspeth, Mount Olivet Cemetery was founded as a non-sectarian burial site and currently expands over 71 acres.
Mount Olivet is the final resting place for 25 Union soldiers (and 17 of their wives) from the Civil War era, and in 2000, the Sons of Union Veterans helped organize a replacement of the monuments there dedicated to those fallen soldiers.
Although Mount Judah Cemetery in Ridgewood was first established in 1908 as Highland View Cemetery, it took four years for the roads to be mapped out and installed, so the first burial did not take place here until 1912. Since then, over 54,000 burials have taken place at Mount Judah, which exclusively offers burial sites to members of the Jewish faith.
The Mount Lebanon Cemetery in Glendale serves the Jewish Community of New York City and is still maintained by one of the founding families to this day. Since its first burial in May of 1915, there have been over 90,000 interments established at Mount Lebanon.
The grounds of Mount Lebanon Cemetery feature three mausoleums: the outdoor Community Mausoleum of 1982, the garden mausoleum of 1985, and The Sanctuary of 1992, which was the first indoor, public mausoleum constructed within the five boroughs of New York City.