Tour 15: Melting Pot, Six Feet Under: Trinity Church Cemetery as Muse for American Studies: Washington Heights
Tour leader: Eric K. Washington, independent historian and author of Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem
Is a cemetery the end of the line? More likely, it is an intersection between the present and the past. This walk uses Trinity Church Cemetery to examine the peopling of New York through the city’s class, race, ethnic, and gender identities; to explore the interplay of events on both prominent and unsung citizens; and to consider the correlation between historic and contemporary issues. Steeped in Revolutionary War, Civil War, civic history, and social history, this 24-acre garden cemetery is a palimpsest of New York City’s eventful past and its cultural melting pot. Notable interments here include John James Audubon, naturalist; New York City mayors Cadwallader D. Colden, Fernando Wood, A. Oakey Hall, and Edward I. Koch; Madame Eliza Jumel, adventuress; John Jacob Astor, merchant; Clement Clarke Moore, poet; Philip Ernst, flutist; and David Hosack, doctor and New-York Historical Society co-founder. The grounds also contain the common burial lots of some of the city’s numerous nineteenth-century eleemosynary institutions. Today, urban development frames this modest natural landscape, which forms the only still active cemetery on Manhattan Island. Discover Manhattan’s last active cemetery—listed on the National Register of Historic Places—as a unique introduction to the interdisciplinary field of American Studies. Moreover, discover one of New York State’s most significant burying grounds, yet one of its best-kept secrets.
Please note: The walking part of the tour will last two hours.
Limit: 25 people. $20 members, $25 nonmembers