“Discover the world through its most overlooked record…its cemeteries,” the writer Jessica Ferri encourages us, tantalizingly. Her series, Dearly Departed, began as an Instagram account documenting her global exploration of cemeteries and morphed into a television pilot two years ago with a first episode shot at Green-Wood Cemetery. Since then, she started a family and and sold the rights to her book, Dearly Departed: New York, to Globe Pequot Press with a projected release date of 2020.
Ferri, whose writing has been in The New Yorker, NPR, The Economist, and more, launched a Kickstarter campaign to finally complete that pilot episode. Donors to the campaign will get enticing rewards, like private and group tours of Green-Wood Cemetery led by Ferri, tickets to the screening of the television series, and more. Ferri has also written for us a guide to her picks for the weirdest tombs and mausoleums at Green-Wood cemetery, sharing the fascinating stories of some of the oddest to be buried in the Brooklyn landmark.
Check out what Ferri has to say about these five tombs and mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery:
1. The Niblo Mausoleum
Nestled into the hills surrounding Crescent Water lake at Green-Wood Cemetery you’ll find the mausoleum of William Niblo, guarded by two rather perturbed looking lions. The Niblo Mausoleum is undoubtedly one of the prettiest sights at Green-Wood. But the Niblo Mausoleum was once host to one of the most scandalous parties in Brooklyn.
William Niblo was a theater impresario, the owner of Niblo’s Garden, a “pleasure theater” that opened in 1828 at the corner of Broadway and Prince Street in Manhattan. The Garden would feature dancers, fireworks, music, and more. As a prominent New Yorker, Niblo purchased and built his mausoleum at Green-Wood well before his earthly demise in 1878. Recognizing its potential as an event space, he would throw wild parties on the lawn of the mausoleum, much to the chagrin of the cemetery management at the time. Today, Green-Wood has embraced Niblo’s legacy and thrown their own parties inspired by Niblo’s Garden.
Support the Kickstarter for the Dearly Departed here!