First Calvary Cemetery

First Calvary Cemetery

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I've mentioned that I've been going a little stir crazy already this winter, and even after walking to work on Friday, I wasn't ready to say goodbye to all of our "bomb cyclone" snow just yet. On Sunday I bundled up (it was a four shirts, three pairs of socks and two pairs of pants kind of day) and headed to Queens. Our regular UWS diner is still closed (hopefully only temporarily) after a fire, so my mom and I had lunch at the Court Square Diner in Long Island City. After lunch, we parted ways and I headed further into Queens to the First Calvary Cemetery.

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Calvary, a Roman Catholic cemetery, is one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. It's divided into four sections and the oldest section, First Calvary, is bordered by the Long Island Expressway and the BQE. The first burial occurred on July 31, 1848—Esther Ennis, reportedly dead of a broken heart—and First Calvary was full by 1867.

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I had been to First Calvary once before, back in 2014 when I first got my camera. I always had it on my mental list of places to revisit, but we watched The Godfather on Saturday—Vito Corleone is "buried" in Calvary—and whenever it snows my first instinct is to head to a cemetery. Google lists the cemetery as closed on Sundays and I've had unfortunate luck getting into snowy cemeteries before, but luckily the gates were open.

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Calvary was the first major cemetery to be established in an outer borough by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral, after a cholera epidemic created a burial shortage in Manhattan. Today, more than three million people are buried in Calvary cemetery—the largest number of interments of any cemetery in the US—and the first thing you notice upon entering is just how full it seems. In many ways, the cemetery resembles a small city of its own, with row after row of tall headstones tightly packed together, a mirror image of the Manhattan skyline in the distance.


First Calvary Cemetery
34-02 Greenpoint Avenue,
Maspeth (Queens), NY 11378
Office Hours (note that the office is closed on Sunday, but the cemetery gates were open):
Monday-Friday: 9:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m.

Happy Friday!

Happy Friday!

Palm Springs

Palm Springs