More New Yorkers are moving next to cemeteries

Green-Wood cemetery

In a city that never sleeps, some people prefer to live next to those who sleep forever.

Real estate agents say cemeteries can be an easy sell to renters who want quiet neighbors and an unobstructed view. And New Yorkers themselves say they’d often prefer a graveyard than noisy neighbors.

Amy Bethard, 33, a television producer walking her dog yesterday near Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery, said she loves how no skyscrapers block the scenery.

“I like that it’s quiet and open, and there aren’t a lot of buildings,” she said. “It’s pretty.”

An Upper West Side mom told Metro she is moving from a cramped apartment and considering trading in Central Park. “A cemetery can function much like a park,” she said.

City cemeteries are even amping up their efforts to attract visitors, according to a recent Crain’s article, which can also attract residents. Green-Wood, in Sunset Park, attracted 40,000 visitors in 2011, 10 times the amount that came a decade earlier, Crain’s reported. And in the Bronx, Woodlawn Cemetery’s 2011 attendance was 3,000, six times the amount ten years ago, according to Crain’s.

“My sales pitch is that your neighbors don’t make any noise,” said Steve Castellon, 30, an agent at Sunset Park Rapid Realty. “People that are looking for the peace and tranquility will go for it, knowing that it’s not going to be wild, it’s not going to be loud.”

Added Bond New York agent Kelly Killian, “Either they find it a bit odd, or they don’t care at all.”

Still, gravestones don’t attract everyone.

“People feel like it would not be the best way to start their day, when they walk out the door and see plots of dead people,” Citi Habitats broker Anthony DelleCave said.

Perks of eternal neighbors

A cemetery as neighbor can also knock the rent down, Castellon said. In Sunset Park, a one-bedroom apartment can start around $1,200, he said. “Right by the cemetery we’ll have a little more leverage to negotiated the landlord. … We can tell them, your apartment is $1,200, but you’re right across the street from the cemetery, and we’ll knock it down $100.” He added, “On both sides it can be a selling point, because it’s quiet, and it can be a negotiating tool.”

Eternal appeal

Cemeteries like Green-Wood and Woodlawn offer tours of the grounds – and gravestones from people like Joseph Pulitzer and Horace Greeley. But the type of cemetery can make a different – a big, leafy open space where residents roller blade or stroll, for example, is more likely to attract neighbors than packed-in gravestones, Killian said.


Follow Alison Bowen on Twitter @AlisonatMetro


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