It's strange to call a cemetery pleasant, but Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery truly is.
I'm no stranger to cemeteries as tourist attractions -- those in New Orleans and Buenos Aires come to mind. And while Green-Wood Cemetery isn't nearly as well known as those other resting places, it's a lovely place to spend an afternoon.
Green-Wood Cemetery does have a few famous residents among the 560,000+ buried there: Boss Tweed, Leonard Bernstein and Horace Greeley to name just three. But Paul, Edith and I weren't there for the names, but rather the views.
The cemetery sits about three miles north of our apartment, but the elevation is much higher than where we live. It's an actual workout to stride up and down the cemetery's many hills, especially when you have a stroller in tow. But the reward is worth it: terrific views of Lower Manhattan and Midtown, as well as a rolling landscape filled with intriguing tombstones.
|Midtown, beyond the cemetery and buildings|
|Statue of Liberty as a speck below one of the branches|
|Lower Manhattan, including One Freedom Tower|
|Lower Manhattan again|
We easily whiled away an hour or two meandering through the cemetery's 478 acres of twists and turns. Although the roads and paths are labelled like any subdivision, it's easy to get lost. The cemetery offers free maps, which we failed to pick up. I had to use the map function on my phone to lead us back to our car.
The wide berths and occasional "secret" pathways made me think of another New York attraction: Central Park. Except you share Central Park with hundreds, if not thousands of others fighting for greenspace. Green-Wood Cemetery -- with visitors that seemed to number only in the dozens -- was much, much sparser. At least when it came to the living.