With the price of real estate in Manhattan, it’s no wonder that there are very few cemeteries on the island, with most of the large ones out in the other boroughs of Brooklyn, Queens, and the Bronx. The handful that do remain tend to be small and in some cases hidden or difficult to access. Not so the cemetery of St. Paul’s Chapel, located on Broadway and just steps from the 9/11 Memorial. The church is the oldest in Manhattan and was the tallest building when it was built in 1766. It has had a number of famous worshippers here, from George Washington to George H.W. Bush. It survived the Great New York City Fire of 1776 when a quarter of the city burned after being captured by the British during the American Revolutionary War. And, despite being so near the World Trade Center, it escaped any damage when the two towers fell. In fact, the church became a center of refuge for fire fighters, police officers, and construction workers The fence around the cemetery became an early memorial as people put notices of their loved ones there. The church added 400 panels in the area to allow for more memorials (they originally thought they would only need 15). Today, even though it is still a working church, it has various displays connected to 9/11.
Unfortunately, the day I came here it was closed to visitors for an event (possibly for 9/11 which was the next day). So I couldn’t visit the church or the cemetery. Luckily the fence was open enough to allow me to photographs some of the stones. Hopefully the next time I’m in NYC I’ll be able to visit it properly then.
Site: St. Paul’s Chapel of Trinity
Notable Internments: Richard and Janet Livingston Montgomery, William Denning, Stephen Rochefontaine
Location: 209 Broadway Street, NYC
Hours: 07:00-18:00 (church and churchyard)