2. The Van Ness Parsons Mausoleum
It’s hard to miss the Van Ness Parsons mausoleum at Green-Wood Cemetery because the mausoleum is a legitimate pyramid. Though the Egyptian influence was a big part of Art Deco design in the early 1900s, the Van Ness Parsons mausoleum is a fascinating hybrid of Egyptian Revival and Christian symbolism. Greeting you at the front of the pyramid, you’ll see Jesus Christ, holding a lamb, and the Virgin Mary, holding the infant version of Jesus just next to him. There’s another female figure to the left, probably Pharaoh’s wife discovering baby Moses. But just adjacent to Mary is a friendly sphinx, and there are Egyptian vulture wings that adorn the mausoleum’s doorframe. It’s a beautifully bizarre convergence of cultures.
The mausoleum belongs to Alfred Ross Parsons, a celebrated pianist and music teacher who died in 1933. Parsons was also an Egyptologist and author of New Light from the Great Pyramid, on the geographical discoveries of the Egyptians. So it’s unsurprising that Parsons rests in a literal pyramid, alongside his wife, Alice Schuyler Van Ness, who predeceased him in 1931.
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