7. Washington Square Park Vaults

Photo by Chrysalis Architecture

Washington Square Park is already rather ghoulish, with its prior history as a potter’s field – the city’s burial ground for the unclaimed and poor. In 2015 two burial vaults were discovered with human remains just east of the park by workers on a water main project that’s part of the NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC).

The DDC, in partnership with The Landmarks Preservation Commission and Chrysalis Archaeological Consultants, assessed the significance of the findings and catalogued the contents without actually disturbing the vaults. In addition to the vault entrance, human skeletal remains of a dozen people were found in the first vault. Both vaults are 8 feet deep, 15 feet wide and 20 feet long. They believe the vault dates to the 19th century and are likely related to the former Cedar Street Presbyterian Church. One vault has been disturbed but another looks intact, said archaeologist Alyssa Loorya of Chrysalis.