Calvary Cemetery (Queens, New York)

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Calvary Cemetery
LIE Calvary Cem jeh.jpg
Details
Year established1848
LocationQueens, New York City
CountryUSA
Coordinates40°44′7″N 73°55′45″W / 40.73528°N 73.92917°W / 40.73528; -73.92917
TypeCatholic Cemetery
Owned byThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Number of interments3 million
 
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Calvary Cemetery
LIE Calvary Cem jeh.jpg
Details
Year established1848
LocationQueens, New York City
CountryUSA
Coordinates40°44′7″N 73°55′45″W / 40.73528°N 73.92917°W / 40.73528; -73.92917
TypeCatholic Cemetery
Owned byThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
Number of interments3 million
Map of Blissville from 1873, showing Calvary Cemetery, from the Greater Astoria Historical Society.

Calvary Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery in Queens, New York City, New York, United States. With about 3 million burials,[1] it has the largest number of interments of any cemetery in the United States; it is also one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States.[2] It is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and managed by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Calvary Cemetery is divided into four sections, spread across the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Woodside. The oldest, First Calvary, is also called "Old Calvary." The Second, Third and Fourth sections are all considered part of "New Calvary."

  1. First Calvary Cemetery is located between the Long Island Expressway and Review Avenue. The cemetery's offices are located here, at 49-02 Laurel Hill Boulevard.
  2. Second Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between Queens Boulevard and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
  3. Third Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
  4. Fourth Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and 55th Avenue.

History and description[edit]

A view of the cemetery showing Manhattan skyline in the background.

In 1817, the Trustees of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mott Street realized that their original cemetery on Mulberry Street was almost full.

In 1847, faced with cholera epidemics and a shortage of burial grounds in Manhattan, the New York State Legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act authorizing nonprofit corporations to operate commercial cemeteries. On October 29, 1845 Old St. Patrick's Cathedral trustees had purchased 71 acres of land from John McMenoy and John McNolte in Maspeth and this land was used to develop Calvary Cemetery.

The cemetery was named after Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the New Testament.

Calvary was accessible by ferryboat from 23rd Street and the East River. It cost an adult seven dollars to be buried there. Burial of children under age seven cost three dollars; children aged seven to fourteen cost five dollars. As development in the East Village expanded, bodies buried in that neighborhood were transferred to Queens. In 1854, ferry service opened by 10th Street and the East River.

The first Calvary Cemetery burial in occurred on July 31, 1848. The name of the deceased was Esther Ennis, having reportedly “died of a broken heart.” By 1852 there were 50 burials a day, half of them poor Irish under seven years of age. In the early 20th century, influenza and tuberculosis epidemics caused a shortage of gravediggers, and people dug graves for their own loved ones.[3] The entire number of interments from the cemetery's opening in August 1848 until January 1898, was 644,761. From January 1898 until 1907 there were about 200,000 interments, thus yielding roughly 850,000 interments at Calvary Cemetery by 1907.[4]

The original division of the cemetery, now known as First Calvary or Old Calvary, was filled by 1867. The Archdiocese of New York expanded the area of the cemetery, adding more sections, and by the 1990s there were nearly 3 million burials in Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery was used in the film The Godfather for the funeral of Don Corleone and the Ben Stiller comedy, Zoolander. Now the Cemetery only accepts immediate interments; plots cannot be purchased in advance.

The chapel was designed by Raymond F. Almirall.[5]

Calvary Monument[edit]

The Calvary Monument is located in a city-owned park, Calvary Veterans Park which is wholly contained within the cemetery.[6] The monument honors the 69th Regiment.

statue of Union soldier
69th Regiment monument

There is no signage from the main entrance directing one to the monument which is located at 40°43′51″N 73°55′47″W / 40.7308°N 73.9297°W / 40.7308; -73.9297.

Notable burials[edit]

Athletes[edit]

Entertainers[edit]

Law enforcement professionals[edit]

Military figures[edit]

Organized crime figures[edit]

Politicians[edit]

Writers[edit]

Others[edit]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.nymoon.com/pubs/undertone/dead/
  2. ^ Interment.net
  3. ^ "The Cemetery Belt", Newsday article by Rhona Amon. (Original URL broken, but mirrored at Juniper Park Civic Association)
  4. ^ The journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Volume 7 (1907)
  5. ^ Most Remarkable Mortuary Chapel in America
  6. ^ "Calvary Monument". New York City Department of Parks. 
  7. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 
  8. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 
  9. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 
  10. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 
  11. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 
  12. ^ Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°44′07″N 73°55′05″W / 40.73528°N 73.91806°W / 40.73528; -73.91806