New York City, Calvary Cemetery

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4902 Laurel Hill Boulevard, New York City, Queens County, NY, United States
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Calvary Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery in Maspeth, Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. With about 3 million burials, it has the largest number of interments of any cemetery in the United States; it is also one of the oldest cemeteries in the United States. It covers 365 acres and is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and managed by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral.

Calvary Cemetery is divided into four sections, spread across the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Woodside. The oldest, First Calvary, is also called "Old Calvary." The Second, Third and Fourth sections are all considered part of "New Calvary."

  1. First Calvary Cemetery is located between the Long Island Expresswayand Review Avenue. The cemetery's offices are located here, at 49-02 Laurel Hill Boulevard.
  2. Second Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between Queens Boulevard and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
  3. Third Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
  4. Fourth Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and 55th Avenue.

History and description

  A view of the cemetery showing Manhattan skyline in the background.

In 1817, the Trustees of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mott Street realized that their original cemetery on Mulberry Street was almost full.

In 1847, faced with cholera epidemics and a shortage of burial grounds in Manhattan, the New York State Legislaturepassed the Rural Cemetery Act authorizing nonprofit corporations to operate commercial cemeteries. On October 29, 1845 Old St. Patrick's Cathedral trustees had purchased 71 acres of land from John McMenoy and John McNolte inMaspeth and this land was used to develop Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery was consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848.

The cemetery was named after Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the New Testament.

Calvary was accessible by ferryboat from 23rd Street and the East River. It cost an adult seven dollars to be buried there. Burial of children under age seven cost three dollars; children aged seven to fourteen cost five dollars. As development in the East Village expanded, bodies buried in that neighborhood were transferred to Queens. In 1854, ferry service opened by 10th Street and the East River.

The first Calvary Cemetery burial in occurred on July 31, 1848. The name of the deceased was Esther Ennis, having reportedly “died of a broken heart.” By 1852 there were 50 burials a day, half of them poor Irish under seven years of age. In the early 20th century, influenza and tuberculosis epidemics caused a shortage of gravediggers, and people dug graves for their own loved ones. The entire number of interments from the cemetery's opening in August 1848 until January 1898, was 644,761. From January 1898 until 1907 there were about 200,000 interments, thus yielding roughly 850,000 interments at Calvary Cemetery by 1907.

The original division of the cemetery, now known as First Calvary or Old Calvary, was filled by 1867. The Archdiocese of New York expanded the area of the cemetery, adding more sections, and by the 1990s there were nearly 3 million burials in Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery was used in the film The Godfather for the funeral of Don Corleone and the Ben Stiller comedy,Zoolander. Now the Cemetery only accepts immediate interments; plots cannot be purchased in advance.

The chapel was designed by Raymond F. Almirall.

Calvary Monument

The Calvary Monument is located in a city-owned park, Calvary Veterans Park which is wholly contained within the cemetery. The monument honors the 69th Regiment.

       There is no signage from the main entrance directing one to the monument which is located at 40.7308°N 73.9297°W.

Notable burials


  • Willie Keeler (1872–1923), Hall of Fame baseball player - 1st, Section 1W, range 15, plot B, grave 5
  • Joseph Scoini (1904–1925), professional boxer, Harlem Welterweight champion
  • Jim Shanley (1854–1904), baseball player
  • Martin Sheridan (1881–1918), four-time Olympic gold medalist in the discus and shot put
  • Mickey Welch (1859–1941), Hall of Fame baseball player - 1st, Section 4, range 17, plot S, grave 6


  • Nancy Carroll (1903–1965), actress - 3rd, Section 35, range 10, lot Q, grave 14/15
  • Tess Gardella (1894–1950), actress who played Aunt Jemima - 1st, Section 56, range 129, grave 18
  • Patrick Gilmore (1829–1882), "Father of the American Band" - 1st, Section 10, plot 15
  • Texas Guinan (1884–1933), actress and saloon-keeper - 1st, Section 47, plot F
  • Robert Harron (1893–1920), actor
  • James Hayden (1953–1983), actor
  • Joseph E. Howard (1878–1961), American composer ("Emerson and Howard")
  • Patsy Kelly (1910–1981), actress - 4th, Section 66, plot 40, grave 7
  • James Murray (1901–1936), actor - 3rd, Section 21, range 6, plot 4
  • Nita Naldi (1897–1961), actress - 1st, Section 1W, range 5AA, plot 13/14, grave 5
  • Arthur O'Connell (1908–1981), actor - 3rd, Section 34, row 7, range Q, plot 10/11
  • Una O'Connor (1880–1959), actress - 4th, Section 70, plot 46, grave 16
  • William J. Scanlan (1856–1898), singer
  • Wini Shaw (1907–1982), actress - 3rd, Section 33, range 1F, grave 34
  • Joe Spinell (1936–1989), actor - 1st, Section 51, lot 106-61
  • Bert Wheeler (1895–1968), comedian - 1st, Section 47, plot 46, grave 29, Catholic Actors Guild lot

Law enforcement professionals

  • Joseph Petrosino (1860–1909), NYPD's first Italian-American detective; founded the Italian Squad; subject of the film Pay or Die - 3rd, Section 22, range 9, plot K, graves 17/18
  • Hubert J. Treacy, Jr. (1913–1942), FBI Special Agent killed in the line of duty on March 13, 1942, in Abingdon, VA

Military figures

  • Edward Brown, Jr. (1841–1911), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Thomas Burke (1842–1902), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Richard Byrnes (1833–1864), American Civil War officer and commander of the Irish Brigade - 1st, Section 3, range 23, plot W, grave 5/8
  • Dennis Conlan (1838–1870), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • William C. Connor (1832–1912), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Michael Corcoran (1827–1863), American Civil War officer and commander of the 69th New York Irish Volunteers - 1st, Section 4, range 5, plot 0, grave 13/16
  • Thomas E. Corcoran (1838–1904), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • William J. Creelman (1874–1928), Peacetime Medal of Honor recipient
  • Cornelius Cronin (1838–1912), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • John Donnelly (1839–1895), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Patrick H. Doody (1840–1924), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • George W. Ford (1844–1883), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Patrick Ginley (1822–1917), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Francis J. Herron (1837–1902), American Civil War general and Medal of Honor recipient - 1st, Section 10, plot 208, grave 1/16
  • Patrick Kelly (d. 1864), American Civil War officer and commander of the Irish Brigade - 1st, Section 4, range 5, plot H, grave 14/16
  • Samuel W. Kinnaird (1843–1923), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Franz Kramer (1865–1924), Spanish–American War Medal of Honor recipient
  • William McNamara (1835–1912), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient
  • James H. Morgan (1840–1877), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Charles J. Murphy (1832–1921), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • John McLeod Murphy (1827-1871), American Civil War Army and Navy officer, and State Senator
  • Thomas P. Noonan, Jr. (1943–1969) Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient
  • James R. O'Beirne (1844–1917), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • John Francis O'Sullivan (1850–1907), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient
  • James Quinlan (1833–1906), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Peter Rafferty (1845–1910), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Eliakim P. Scammon (1816–1894), American Civil War brigadier general - 1st, Section 7, unmarked
  • Robert Augustus Sweeney (1853–1890), two-time Medal of Honor recipient
  • Henry A. Thompson (1841–1889), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
  • Hermann Ziegner (1864–1898), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient

Organized crime figures

  • Vito Bonventre (1875–1930), mobster
  • Anthony Carfano (1898–1959), mobster aka "Little Augie Pisano"
  • John "Johnny" Dolan (c. 1850-1876), executed for the murder of merchant James H. Noe; described (possibly inaccurately) as "Dandy" Johnny Dolan and the head of the Whyos street gang by Herbert Asbury in his book The Gangs of New York
  • Gandolfo "Frankie Marlow" Curto (1890–1929)
  • Natale "Joe Diamond" Evola (1907–1973)
  • Stefano "Steve" Ferrigno (1900–1930)
  • Joseph Lanza (1904–1968), racketeer; mobster
  • Thomas Lucchese (1899–1967), mobster
  • Ignatius "Lupo the Wolf" Lupo (1877–1947)
  • Joe Masseria (1879–1931)
  • Peter "Guiseppe" Morello (also known as the Clutch Hand) (1870–1930), the first head of the Morello crime family; now lies in a bare, forgotten grave
  • Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano (1930–1981), mobster
  • Bonaventura "Joseph" Pinzolo (1887–1930)
  • Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero (1926–1994)
  • Paul Kelly (criminal) (1876–1936), mobster
  • Lorenzo "Larry Chappie" Brescio (1903–1986), mobster and top button man of Peter "Philie Aquilino" DeFeo
  • Michael "Mickey" Spillane (1934-1977), mobster
  • The Terranova brothers, members of the Morello crime family; they now lie in bare, forgotten graves:[7]
    • Ciro "the Artichoke King" Terranova (1888-1938)
    • Nicolo Terranova (1890-1916)[7]
    • Vincenzo "Vincent" Terranova (1886-1922)


  • Lawrence V. Cullen, J.D., USMC (1948-2012), Justice New York State Court of Claims (appointed by Gov. George Pataki), elected New York State Supreme Court, 11th Judicial District
  • Carmine DeSapio (1908-2004), last head of the Tammany Hall political machine - 3rd, Section 27, plot 42
  • Daniel Direnzo (1886–1933), Assistant District Attorney of New York City, Head of Court of Special Sessions
  • Thomas J. Dunn (1849–1905), Sheriff of New York County (1897–99)
  • John Fox (1835–1914), U.S. Representative from New York and member of the New York City Council
  • Patrick Jerome "Battle-Axe" Gleason (1844–1901) last mayor of Long Island City
  • Hugh J. Grant (1857–1910), mayor of New York City
  • Martin J. Kennedy (1892-1955) U.S. Representative in Congress (1930-1945) and New York State Senator (1924 - 1930)
  • Thomas A. Ledwith, (1840-1898) New York State Assemblyman and State Senator, Section 6, Vault site 29
  • Charles Francis Murphy (1858–1924), head of New York City's Tammany Hall
  • George Washington Plunkitt (1842-1924), Tammany Hall politician - 1st, Section 5, unmarked
  • Alfred E. Smith (1873–1944), Governor of New York State and 1928 U.S. Presidential candidate - 1st, Section 45, plots 3-4
  • Timothy Sullivan (1862-1913), U.S. Representative in Congress (1903–1906; 1912), long-term member of New York State Legislature and sponsor of the Sullivan Act which sought to curtail illegal gun possession
  • Robert Ferdinand Wagner (1877–1953), U.S. Senator from New York State - 1st, Section 45, plot 79
  • Robert F. Wagner, Jr. (1910–1991), Mayor of New York City - 1st, Section 45, plot 79
  • Robert Wagner III (1944–1993), president of the New York City Board of Education, son of Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr., and grandson of Senator Robert Wagner
  • Andrew J.Doyle 1905 Duly Elected Alderman - Duly Elected, by the greatest number of votes, Aldermanic District in the City of New York


  • Mary Letitia Martin (1815–1850), heiress, novelist
  • Claude McKay (1890–1948), poet, journalist, novelist - 2nd, Section 42, range 14, plot R, grave 5


  • Steve Brodie (1863–1901), Brooklyn bookmaker, claimed to survive Brooklyn Bridge jump - 1st, Section 9, plot 443, grave 13/16
  • Julia Grant (1973–1944), philanthropist
  • Edward McGlynn (1837–1900), reformist Catholic priest
  • Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862–1947), portrait artist
  • Sarah Rabassa (1928–2006), worked in belt factories for 20 cents an hour, in the garment center of New York
  • Hubert J. Treacy, Sr. (1877–1938), NYC Fire Dept. Chief of the Bureau of Repairs and Supplies, 1919-1938
  • Annie Moore Schayer (1874-1924), first person to be processed through Ellis Island - 3rd, Section 20, range 3, plot F, grave 13
  • Seven brothers of the Saint Peter's Benevolent Society from Croatia (who at the time lived in New York) before it was possible to transport the deceased overseas.


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