The New York City Marble Cemetery is an historic cemetery founded in 1831, and located at 52-74 East 2nd Street between First and Second Avenues in the East Village neighborhood of Manhattan, New York City. The cemetery has 256 underground burial vaults constructed of Tuckahoe marble on the site.
The New York City Marble Cemetery, which was the city's second non-sectarian burial place, should not be confused with the nearby New York Marble Cemetery one block west, which was the first, having been established one year earlier. Both cemeteries were designated New York City landmarks in 1969, and in 1980 both were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
History and Description:
In 1830, recent outbreaks of yellow fever had led city residents to fear burying their dead in coffins just a few feet below ground, and public health legislation had outlawed earthen burials. The New York Marble Cemetery had met this circumstance by constructing and selling underground marble burial vaults. A year later, five partners – Evert Banckar, Henry Booream, Thomas Addis Emmett, Garret Storm and Samuel Whittemore - organized a similar venture one block east.
Land was purchased from Samuel Cowdrey, who was a vault owner in the earlier venture, and Perkins Nicols was engaged to construct the marble vaults, as he had done previously. The first of the vaults were ready by summer 1831, the cemetery was incorporated on April 26, 1832, and it continued to Purchase land on either side of the original plot until 1835, when it reached its current dimensions.
Unlike the earlier cemetery, in which no monuments or markers indicated the placement of the vaults, instead being indicated on marble tablet embedded in the surrounding wall, the new cemetery marked the position of each vault with a marble marker, or with monuments of various sizes, according to the vault owner's preference. At the time, the new cemetery was considered to be a fashionable place to be buried.
According to the cemetery's website, it is open twice a year, on a Sunday in spring, and a weekend in the fall.