New York City Secrets Within Calvary Cemetery - Atlas Obscura

Queens, New York

New York City Secrets Within Calvary Cemetery

Explore NYC history, hidden inside sculptural monuments and mafioso grave sites, as you take in iconic city views on this walking tour.

Walk amongst the 300-year-old headstones and rolling hills of Calvary Cemetery, founded in 1848 by Roman Catholic Archbishop "Dagger John" Hughes. Led by Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman, you'll take in rich history housed within the colonial-era Alsop cemetery.

First Calvary is the final resting place of senators, governors, businessmen, mafiosos, and even an heir to the throne of Ireland. See the memorial to NYC's Civil War soldiers erected by Tammany Hall, and one dedicated to the "fighting 69th."

The walk will range throughout rolling hills of the cemetery. Its expanse of open space is a jewel of green infrastructure nestled in the midst of Newtown Creek's industrial zone. In addition to its original purpose, Calvary also serves the City of New York by soaking up billions of gallons of water during storms.

The views from Calvary Cemetery are iconic, with the Manhattan and LIC skylines framing the scene, so be sure to bring your camera.


Meet up at the northeast corner of Greenpoint and Review Avenues, near the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge in Blissville. We will be exiting the Cemetery through the main gates at Greenpoint and Gale Avenue, nearby Borden Avenue and the Long Island Expressway. Afterwards, discussion will continue informally at the Bantry Bay Publick House, a bar and restaurant at the corner of Greenpoint and Bradley Avenues.


  • Be aware that we will be walking across a natural surface of grass and soil.
  • Dress and pack appropriately for hiking and the weather. Closed-toed shoes are highly recommended.
  • Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the start and end of the walk.
  • We will be outside until the very end of the tour, which will run about two hours.
  • Post-tour discussion at Bantry Bay Publick House is optional, but very enjoyable! Food and drink purchase is optional as well. 
  • Attendees will be asked to sign a waiver at the start of the walk.
  • If your mobility is limited, you have the option meet us at the Botany Bay Publick House afterwards.



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