The New York Grimpendium: Woodlawn Cemetery

My new book, The New York Grimpendium, comes out October 1 [UPDATE: Available now]. Like its predecessor The New England Grimpendium, it covers my experiences traveling to hundreds of death-related locations and artifacts in the region. Below is one of a series of photo essays from sites in the book that I’ll be posting over the next few weeks. If you live in or like New York, the book is for you. If you’re a bit morbid, the book is also for you, even if you’ve never been to the Empire State. After all, death is a punch line we all get.

September 25, 2012 — I’ve long maintained that Sleepy Hollow Cemetery is my favorite graveyard in New York, and that hasn’t changed now that I’ve combed the entire state for this grimpendium. However, if I were only judging a cemetery by what’s inside of it and not all the cool headless horsemanship around it, then without a doubt my favorite is Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx. It has everything I want out of a place for the dead: varied funerary art, mausoleums, large trees and bodies of water, hills and paths so winding that you’re not sure what you’ll see next, lots of unique stories, and plenty of final resting places of the famous. In fact, Woodlawn has one of most varied range of notable corpses that I’ve seen in a cemetery, stretching from the writer of Moby Dick, to a woman infamously electrocuted by electric chair, to an entire team of Arctic explorers. Enough words, though. The proof is in the plots, so let me convince you with these pics:

One of the more awesome tombstones I've ever seen...

...and it belongs to explorer George DeLong,
buried with his team, who died in Siberia
during an expedition to the North Pole.

Horror and science fiction author
Frank Belknap Long

The grave of the infamous Ruth Brown Snyder

Author Herman Melville. This seems
like a big deal to me.

Did I mention if you're going to be one of my favorite
graveyards, you need turkeys?

Fascinating story.

Irving Berlin...
...and his infant son.

Miles Davis
So Irving Berlin, Miles Davis, and Duke Ellington...
Lot of music in this graveyard:
That's right. Bat...Masterson.

Read all about my visit to Woodlawn Cemetery in The New York Grimpendium, which is on sale now: