#373 New York Underground: The Story of Cemeteries


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The following podcast may look like the history of New York City cemeteries -- from the early churchyards of the Colonial era to the monument-filled rural cemeteries of Brooklyn and Queens.

But it's much more than that! This is a story about New York City itself, a tale of real estate, urban growth, class and racial disparity, superstition and architecture.

Cemeteries and burial grounds in New York City are everywhere -- although by design we often don’t see them or interact with them in daily life.

You see them while strolling late night through the East Village or out your taxi window headed to LaGuardia Airport. Some of your favorite parks were even developed upon the sites of old potter’s fields.

Why are there so many cemeteries on the border of the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens? Why are 19th century mausoleums and tombstones so fabulously ornate? And why are there so many old burial grounds next to tenements and apartment buildings in Greenwich Village?

Featuring four tales from New York City history, illustrating the unusual relationship between cemeteries and urban areas.
-- The Doctor's Riot of 1788
-- The tragic monument of Charlotte Canda
-- The shocking grave robbery of a prominent New Yorker
-- The remarkable discovery in 1991 of a long-forgotten burial ground


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