Tag Archives: the bronx

Moonlight and Mausoleums at Woodlawn Cemetery

So are you getting into the Halloween spirit? If you know me, or even glance at this blog once in a while, you know that I appreciate the creepy aspects of our cities pretty much year round, but October is always a good excuse for some extra dark exploring. I just gave a tour at Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx last weekend for Atlas Obscura‘s Obscura Society, but recently I went on one of Woodlawn’s own tours that was part of Open House New York. (The same weekend of access to places usually off limits that brought me to the TWA Flight Center.)

The title of the tour was “Moonlight and Mausoleums” and it took place just after the sun went down. We went inside several of the more stunning mausoleums (or mausolea? hmmm), only lit by our flashlights. Or flashlight apps for those of us who forgot and had to use our iPhones. It was an incredible experience just to walk around the grounds at night; it sort of felt like we were on a really weird camping trip. Alas, no spending the night. Actually, I’m okay with that. As much as I enjoy the history of cemeteries, it’s best to leaving the sleeping there to those in eternal rest.

Photography was tricky, but here are some that turned out:

The Belmont Mausoleum (in the above three pictures) was created as a duplicate of the St. Hubert Chapel in Amboise, France, which is supposedly where Leonardo DaVinci is buried, and holds the tombs of Alva and Oliver Belmont (of the Belmont Stakes).

This is the relatively recent mausoleum of Cecila Cruz, the Queen of Salsa, who passed away in 2003.

The Everard mausoleum holds the namesake of the notorious Everard Baths.

The tour ended at the gorgeous Harbeck Mausoleum, one of the most ornate mausoleums in the cemetery. It even includes a pipe organ and electricity (although it was never hooked up, as the family apparently didn’t realize that the cemetery wouldn’t have any electric wires going amongst the graves for them to connect to. Solar power someday?)

Enjoy your Halloween weekend!

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Explore NYC Cemeteries With Me

Want to experience the exploration of this blog in person? I’m leading a series of walks in NYC cemeteries this fall with Atlas Obscura. Last Sunday we visited Green-Wood in Brooklyn, and tomorrow is Woodlawn. There are upcoming explorations in the East Village and Bayside as well. See the full schedule here.

Tickets are still available to join me tomorrow for an obscure art/history walk through Woodlawn Cemetery. The place has 1,300 mausoleums, but we will scout out a few that are especially interesting, like the Untermyer Memorial designed by Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney in 1925, the Belmont Mausoleum that replicates the St. Hubert Chapel in Amboise, France where DaVinci is interred (supposedly), and another that mimics Trajan’s Kiosk, a temple to Isis, in Egypt. Should be fun! Get a preview with this previous adventure recapped on my blog.

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