(all photos taken by me)
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve developed an appreciation for cemeteries. Walking through a cemetery makes me feel calm and pensive, and somehow a bit safe. It’s a sacred space and almost surreal in the sense that you’re reminded of how fleeting life is. There’s something about being in a cemetery that prompts a sense of reflection and curiosity. A curiosity for what may have happened to some of these people, how were they buried, who cared for them, and what lies beyond.
I’ve recently had the pleasure of visiting Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn and Sleepy Hollow Cemetery in Sleepy Hollow, New York. Both cemeteries are historic in their own right – Greenwood is actually a National Historic Landmark in which with many notables and members of high society have been buried.
Founded in 1838, the beautifully designed cemetery is the home of Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn. It’s also home to the burial grounds of beloved artist Jean-Michel Basquiat, Theodore Roosevelt Sr. (father of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt), and many others.
If you’re in the NYC area, drive or take the MetroNorth to Tarrytown for a visit to Sleepy Hollow cemetery. I typically go around Halloween; of course, due to Mr. Washington Irving’s legendary tale, the town absolutely comes to life during the fall season. There’s plenty to do in Tarrytown in October, and I definitely recommend talking a walk through Sleepy Hollow cemetery; it’s so rich and full of history and looks stunning when fall foliage is in full bloom.
At Sleepy Hollow cemetery, you’ll find “The Old Dutch Church of the Manor of Phillipsburgh,” which has been around since the late 1600s. Stop by the church during October and enjoy a dramatic performance of “Irving’s Legend“. You can take historic walking tours, and of course, pass by the grave site of Washington Irving himself.
Keep an open mind and think about all of the knowledge to be gained when you visit a historic cemetery!