Houses on Fifth Avenue across from Greenwood Cemetary — Brooklynian

Houses on Fifth Avenue across from Greenwood Cemetary

I notice that there aren't many residential buildings across from Greenwood Cemetary and the few that are are either facing away from the cemetary (with their backyards facing the avenue) or situated sideways across from one another (with a narrow corridor inbetween)

Was it considered bad luck to have your home facing the cemetary years ago? I'm wondering if that explains why the houses are placed as they are. Anybody know?

Actually that whole stretch of area from 5th and 25th to about 34th street has mainly factories between 5th and 4th...was it a "bad omen" years ago for anything to be built close to a cemetary?


  • I'm not sure how much it was seen as 'bad luck' per se. Green-Wood developed in what was then the middle of nowhere (much like the city's large parks - big tracts of land were only affordable away from the developed city) but needed a lot of allied industries to support it - especially stonecutters and florists. I've looked at some of the old land-use maps (Sanborn maps) and blocks near the cemetery were filled those uses. I think that since they were there first, subsequent development followed.

    Plus in the middle of the 1800s, it was quite the tourist attraction - the entrance lands on 4th Avenue were bought and created in part because the area just outside of the original 5th Avenue entrance developed into some sort of 19th-century 'road house' zone equivalent. The old histories (available at various libraries/historical societies around town) detail some pretty interesting events.

    That said, I think those houses on 5th (Welsh Courts?) may have been arranged away from the cemetery - since I think they were built after the popularity of the place was starting to ebb.
  • Subject: Interesting!

    Thanks for the there a good amount of historical data such as you've enumerated at the Central BPL (brooklyn public library)? If so what area?
  • I think that it has some good materials - the 'Brooklyn Collection' there has a lot of useful material, for instance. However, I've looked at this stuff mostly in both the Brooklyn Historical Society (worth it for the library space alone) and the New York Historical Society on Central Park West.

    Nehemiah Cleaveland has some good early histories that I've looked at, and his work is at the BPL.
  • Subject: Would You Want To Face A Cemetery & Watch Funerals Daily

    Living In Dyker Heights, we have other items to live by.

    It is different to live by a hospital, schools and even a golf course.

    But, do people really wish to on a daily basis watch funerals and burials taking place from their windows facing Greenwood.

    Image having a family affair in the summer with your windows open and there is a Burial Service taking place followed with the staff closing up the grave.

    I could not understand why these building would face no less tower over the view of the cemetery. Would you want to buy this exposure?
  • Green-Wood is beautiful, and it makes for a great view throughout the year. I wouldn't mind living across from it, especially if I could get a huge roof deck out of the deal.
  • I actually do live across the street from Greenwood Cemetary and I love it. It's really beautiful, especially now. I don't find it goulish whatsoever. I've lived there since January and have yet to see a burial only an occasional procession. Mostly I see people walking around enjoying the grounds. Oh yeah, it's quieter than quiet over here too. Love it since my last neighborhood was extremely noisy.
  • I also live a couple buildings away from the cemetery and I feel very lucky to be in this spot. It's beautiful year-round, very quiet and safe. I often hang out on my rooftop, where the view is dominated by the gorgeous greenery of the cemetery. Yes, occasionally there are processions of cars, but you only see them if you're right by the 25th St. gate, as I am, and it's not disturbing, just a quiet, solemn occurrence. Being able to get away from it all and stroll through the peaceful, gardenlike setting of Green-Wood is amazing.
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