When I started my new Instagram account to track my progress as I attempt to visit every cemetery in the five boroughs (follow along here!), I received a tip from a fellow explorer, pointing me toward the Barkaloo Cemetery. The tiny family cemetery, located in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn is smaller than Manhattan’s smallest graveyard and contains just two tombstones and two commemorative markers. Not everyone interred here still has a marker—21 people were buried at the corner of Narrows Avenue and Mackay Place from the 1720s until the last burial, an unnamed infant, in 1848.
The current cemetery is what remains of the Barkaloos’ private family burial plot, once a part of their larger property. In 1984, the Bay Ridge Historical Society erected a granite marker which lists the names of the cemetery’s permanent residents along with their birth and death dates. There are Barkaloos, of course—I’ve seen it spelled several different ways—and others with notable New York names like Cortelyou, Cropsey and Van Wyck.
The boundaries of the cemetery have been redrawn many times and ownership of the cemetery has transferred hands many times throughout the years. Although it has lost most of its markers in the process—the two still standing were erected by the D. A. R. in the 1920s for Revolutionary War veterans Harms Barkulo and Simon Cortelyou—it’s still remarkable that the tiny Barkaloo Cemetery has survived at all when many similar family plots have been lost in the name of progress or property disputes.
34 MacKay Place