Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away: A Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery

You know how some people celebrate their Birthday Month? We celebrate Halloween Month. It’s our favorite holiday, hands down. I’m a horror movie aficionado, and Lynn’s a huge costume buff. (She hasn’t really delved into that for herself as much as she’d like, believe me, but she adores watching other people do it really, really well.) We’re always excited to attend fall favorites like Brew in the Zoo, The Great Jack O’Lantern Blaze, and the Halloween Dog Parade. So when our friend and fellow blogger Lauren of Girl in Gotham City asked if we’d like to hang out at Green-Wood, we couldn’t say yes fast enough. It’s long been on our list of things to do. So, let Halloween Month commence!

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
The grave of William “Bill the Butcher” Poole, founder of the street gang the Bowery Boys. He inspired Daniel Day Lewis’ character in Gangs of New York
Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Jean-Michel Basquiat’s grave is a fairly modest one, but this decorated tree stump sits in homage nearby

Green-Wood, a National Historic Landmark, is an enormous, non-sectarian cemetery founded in 1838. It sits on a whopping 478 acres, and the terrain is incredibly varied: hills, valleys, glacial ponds and winding pathways. Battle Hill is located on its grounds, which happens to have the highest elevation point in Brooklyn, offering incredible views of Manhattan. Its park-like aesthetic was so admired it is said to have directly inspired the construction of a centrally-located park in Manhattan. (Can you imagine a Manhattan without Central Park?)

Within its gates, there are more than 560,000 graves (or “Permanent Residents” as they are referred to cheekily by its caretakers). There are markers, statues, and mausoleums of myriad shapes and sizes. The space equitably accommodates those of modest means (such as the free veteran burials in the “Soldiers’ Lot” established after the Civil War) and the crème de la crème of the second half of the nineteenth century. Artists, activists, politicians, and even man’s best friend reside there.

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
When your spouse serves as a prop to block out unsightly cars 😉
Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog
Can you spot the nest in the spire?

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Night Of The Living Dead Theyre Coming To Get You Barbara GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

This is NOT where they filmed that iconic cemetery scene in Night of the Living Dead–that was Pennsylvania–but I couldn’t help myself from re-enacting it. Wandering the expansive grounds, we discussed everything from horror movies to TV shows to workout routines. Imagination runs freely here. It’s the kind of outing that lets you forget that you’re in New York City as you immerse yourself in the lush surroundings. Until, of course, you’re wowed by a fantastic view of lower Manhattan. Or you’re flabbergasted by the Gothic Revival brownstone gates constructed by the first president of the American Institute of Architects. (If you look really closely, you might notice a nest in the spire. It houses Monk Parakeets whose ancestors escaped a shipment passing through JFK ages ago.) Green-Wood is also an arboretum and wildlife sanctuary, which makes it a prime location to enjoy fall foliage once the leaves turn color.

So if you’re interested in history, art, nature or any combination thereof, you’ll find all of that just a short train ride away at Green-Wood. They also offer an incredible slate of in-house programs, such as historic trolley rides, twilight tours, bird-watching tours and more. Pop over to Lauren’s post for tips to a successful outing.

500 25th St

Hours vary by season, visit their website for details

Pair it with:

A meal at Industry City

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Located a stone’s throw from the south entrance of Green-Wood, you’ll find a newly developed area of Sunset Park called Industry City. Industry City has repurposed Brooklyn waterfront property to offer an eclectic mix of retail, dining and art. But let’s focus on the dining. The offerings here are incredibly diverse. Here are two options that are exclusive to Industry City:

Hers: Avocaderia

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

I’m not one to turn down a good avocado toast, but Lynn is definitely more excited about it than I am. (Fun fact: Lynn didn’t even eat avocados until a few years ago–the texture used to turn her off. She claims she’s making up for lost time.) So when she walked into Avocaderia, it was like all her avocado dreams had come true. There were multiple toast options, including vegan varieties. There were avocado smoothies. An avocado burger. Even an avocado chocolate mousse. She went with the Let It Beet, which included beet hummus and watermelon radish on toasted sourdough bread. We’ll definitely be back to try the other offerings.

238 36th St

Monday – Friday 9am – 4pm
Saturday – Sunday 11am – 5pm

His: Ends Meat

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Spirited Away Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery - Mad Hatters NYC Blog

Ends Meat calls itself a whole-animal salumeria, which roughly translates to a deli being run out of a butcher shop. The owner (and head butcher) responsibly sources the meat and vegetables from local sources. You can buy meat for your barbecue and provisions for your pantry. Or just order one of their many sandwich offerings. I succumbed to the Beef Neck Sandwich with caramelized onions, 1000 Island dressing, and cheddar on perfectly toasted bread. I might’ve felt a tad guilty, had we not spent the following four hours trekking around a giant cemetery.

Pro Tip: I snagged a container of their homemade pickled mustard seeds while I was there. They’ve had a starring role on all my homemade sandwiches ever since.

254 36th St

Monday – Friday 11am – 7pm
Saturday – Sunday Noon – 5pm

– J.


18 thoughts on “Spirited Away: A Visit to Green-Wood Cemetery”

  1. Really nice write. A place to put on our list. I want ti see it now. What’s the deal with cemeteries and bloggers? JAM says her interest is that things are revealed.

    1. Thank so much, Tip! I thought many people would find this a little weird or bizarre, but we’re discovering otherwise 😉 I would definitely be interested to see what JAM discovers here!

    1. We could probably have spent days exploring the cemetery since it was so huge! It was the perfect thing to get us psyched about Halloween and now we’re definitely ready for all the fun 😉

      That sandwich was INSANE!

  2. I’ve been a fan of cemeteries since living next to one when I was in 7th grade. We’d hang out there. There’s a nice older one in Seattle, but nothing like Green-Wood. That gate – unbelievable! And Monk parakeets – I’m glad they’re still around, I remember seeing them somewhere in the city. That wildflower section is beautiful, and you’re clever to use each other to mask out the cars – funny! The food looks so good –

    1. Green-Wood is a labyrinth, and I bet it would’ve been fun to hang out there as kids! With the amazing view of downtown Manhattan from Green-Wood, we particularly loved seeing the new juxtaposed against the old. I think you would’ve loved wandering the grounds, Lynn – we probably didn’t do it enough justice 😉

  3. Halloween is not so big in Europe although it’s gaining pace fast. But we do love our walks to a calm, spooky and/or artistic cemetery 🙂 We made it to the Green-Wood on a brilliant May day and it was amazing indeed – haven’t posted our take yet, will do later on. But, beside its beauty and calmness, what struck me was how quiet it is – this must be the quietest place in the City!

    1. That’s so true, Lia! It’s incredibly serene out there, we felt like we’d been transported to a different world. I think that’s why the view of Lower Manhattan from Green-Wood is so striking, it reminds you that you’re just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle. Can’t wait to see your take on it 😉

    1. That’s right, Michael! History buffs and war buffs could definitely spend hours on end here. We spent half a day there and barely scratched the surface! It’ll be fun to head back in different seasons to explore further 🙂

  4. Great post! As per usual, so well-written and thoroughly researched. I had such a lovely outing with you guys – I’m so glad you were both up for a ghould time together 😉 And I’ve definitely added a few horror movies to my queue after our conversation! lol

    Speaking of – I’ve just booked tickets to Alamo Drafthouse (as per your post a couple of months ago) to go see Texas Chainsaw Massacre 1 & 2 double feature! I should really dedicate the write-up post to you guys for all the inspiration! 😉

    1. Lauren, we’re always down to hang out with you. We had a great time, which always seems to be the case in your company. We also walked more that day than the entire first three quarters of the year, which almost makes the experience wholesome…wholesome if you ignore that sandwich pic!

      I’m super jealous you’re going to see TCM and TCM2. I’ve wanted to revisit the 1972 original since Tobe Hooper’s death back in August. It’s one of my favorites.

  5. I visited last year but must make it back this year!

    Lynn, my friend would agree with you about making up for years of not eating avocado. Myself I have eaten most of my life and I would visit there any day!

    1. It was a beautiful day when we visited, but I’m already excited to go back to see the leaves change. And I bet it’ll be gorgeous in the snow too! Green-Wood looks like a spot deserving of regular revisits 🙂

      And I’m making up for lost time, but I’m definitely an avocado lifer from here on out 😉 Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Tracy!

    1. Thanks guys, you are too kind! ❤️ You’re so right though, we were so blown away by the impressive memorials – many are bigger than most NYC apartments! But the landscape was simply beautiful, we can’t wait to go back 🙂

  6. It’ll be on our Must-Visit places when we make it to NYC! What a great spot for a stroll and contemplation in the City! It would be so cool to see Manhattan from the Battle Hill! Thanks so much for sharing!

    1. I think it’s a great one to add to your list! They run really cool events there too, like trolley and night tours, so be sure to check their calendar if you’re planning a trip! Thanks so much for reading 🙂

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