Trinity Church in New York City’s Financial District is famous for being as old as just about anything in town; its graveyard holds the remains of Robert Fulton, Elizabeth Schuyler, and Alexander Hamilton, among others. But it isn’t Manhattan’s only Trinity Church. The lesser-known Trinity Church, which is located about nine miles uptown, is more spacious, more peaceful, and more active: it’s the only cemetery on the island still accepting new residents.
Like its downtown counterpart, the Washington Heights church—named the Church of the Intercession, though it used to be a chapel of Trinity Church—is on Broadway. The cemetery still bears the name Trinity, and straddles the avenue at 155th Street. It has been active since 1843 and still accepts interments today, according to the New York Times. Unlike its southern predecessor, which is low-lying and prone to the voluminous noise pollution of Financial District traffic, Inwood’s Trinity Cemetery benefits from the island’s northern topography, practically presiding over the rest of the island on the large schist cliffs that elevate much of Manhattan north of 110th Street. The elevation keeps the cemetery’s occupants high and dry, and offers living visitors splendid views of the George Washington Bridge.
The cemetery is bucolic and serene (as cemeteries should be), providing a sanctuary from the hustle and bustle of the city. Historically, that wasn’t always the case. In 1776, the now-churchyard served as the stage for some of the Revolutionary War’s most vicious fighting in the Battle of Fort Washington, which ended in a British victory and was the death knell of George Washington’s campaign in New York, according to the American Battlefield Trust. Today, two plaques on church grounds mark spots where the conflict unfolded.
The uptown Trinity hosts similarly famous figures from the city’s past. Four New York mayors have been laid to rest here, including the political juggernaut Ed Koch, as well as Alfred Tennyson Dickens—Charles’s son—and John James Audubon, the famed naturalist and illustrator, whose former property makes up the adjacent Audubon Terrace Historic District. The affluent Astor family made the northern Trinity Church something of their personal cemetery. The family’s patriarch and America’s first multimillionaire, John Jacob Astor, is buried here, along with his great-grandson John Jacob Astor IV (who died on the Titanic) and 20 other members of the Astor family.
Know Before You Go
The church is easily accessed via the New York City subway. The 1 and C trains are all just two blocks from the church. The church and cemetery are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily.