6. There Was Originally a Cemetery at the Site of the Bialystoker Synagogue

Bialystoker Synagogue

Like many churches in Lower Manhattan, the Willet Street Episcopal Church had an adjoining cemetery to bury members of its congregation. An 1851 ordinance from New York City banned burials below 85th Street and the church began to transfer bodies to Brooklyn’s Cypress Hills Cemetery in 1854. At first, the congregation was unaware that the tombstones were somewhat arbitrarily placed at the burial site. As Daytonian in Manhattan writes, “A reporter from the Brooklyn Daily Eagle interviewed a watchman at the plot who admitted that the ‘bones and coffins’ were buried in long trenches. Above, the headstones were nicely arranged–’put up to look good.'”