Hart Island

In the past, Hart Island has variously been used as a tuberculosis sanatorium, a Union Civil War Camp, a women’s insane asylum, and a boys’ reformatory. It was also used to launch missiles during the Cold War in the sixties from the Nike Missile Site, and it housed a rehab facility called Phoenix House in the sixties and seventies. And it has been and continues to be used as a potter’s field.

Green-Wood Cemetery: Murder & Mayhem, Scandal & Spiritualism

See the hidden gems and strange secrets of New York’s foremost Victorian cemetery. With a focus on the scandalous and lesser-known inhabitants of Green-Wood, on this tour you’ll see the final resting places of femmes fatales, revolutionaries, spiritualists, gangsters, artists and murderers.

NYC Cemetery Project

Periodically, we like to run profiles to showcase the hard work of New Yorkers who are dedicated to the history and archaeology of this city. Mary French runs the NYC Cemetery Project, an incredible blog that actually has real writing, and information, and images — not just clickbait “content.” In this world, it’s a rarity.

The Brooklyn Enigma

My discovery of the Brooklyn Enigma was a mistake. On one of my recent research trips to Green-Wood Cemetery, I was scouting graves and stories for my upcoming tour, Murder and Mayhem, Scandal and Spiritualism. I was using one of the cemetery-issued tourist maps, the kind you might be familiar with if you’ve ever visited […]

Titanic Graves at Green-Wood Cemetery

There are several Titanic-related grave sites at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. (There are lots at Woodlawn, too.) One of the saddest is the grave of little Douglas Spedden, best known as the little boy in this photo: When Douglas saw the icebergs after boarding a lifeboat, he reportedly exclaimed “Oh, look at the beautiful North Pole […]

Washington Irving Sites in New York City

  Happy birthday to Washington Irving, born April 3, 1783! Irving is, of course, a great literary hero of mine, not only for his classic Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but also for his imaginative (if somewhat fictive) approach to celebrating Christmas! There are two great Irving-related sites right here in New York City, where he […]

Scribes and Sailors of Woodlawn Cemetery

Yesterday I headed up to Woodlawn Cemetery for a little visit with my hero Herman Melville. Anyone who knows me knows about my Melville/Moby-Dick obsession (I have one), which is why it’s a little strange that I’ve been living in New York City for ten years and hadn’t visited his grave in Woodlawn. In my […]