Calvary Cemetery (Queens, New York)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Calvary Cemetery
CalvaryCemeteryQueens edit.jpg
Maspeth, Queens, New York City
Coordinates40°44′7″N 73°55′45″W / 40.73528°N 73.92917°W / 40.73528; -73.92917
TypeCatholic Cemetery
Owned byThe Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York
No. of interments 3 million
Find a Grave64107

Calvary Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery in Maspeth and Woodside, Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. With about 3 million burials,[1] 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,[2] 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.[3]

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 Expressway and 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[edit]

Map of Blissville from 1873, showing Calvary Cemetery, from the Greater Astoria Historical Society

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 Legislature passed 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 in Maspeth 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 occurred on July 31, 1848; the name of the deceased was Esther Ennis, who 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;[4] 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.[5]

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 accepts only immediate interments; plots cannot be purchased in advance.

The chapel was designed by Raymond F. Almirall.[6]

Calvary Monument[edit]

A view of the cemetery showing the Long Island Expressway
statue of Union soldier
69th Regiment monument

The Calvary Monument is located in a city-owned park, Calvary Veterans Park, which is wholly contained within the cemetery;[7] the monument honors the 69th Regiment.

There is no signage from the main entrance directing one to the monument which is located at 40°43′51″N 73°55′47″W / 40.7308°N 73.9297°W / 40.7308; -73.9297.

Notable burials[edit]



  • Nancy Carroll (1903–1965), actress – 3rd, Section 35, range 10, lot Q, grave 14/15
  • Ferruccio Corradetti (1867–1939), opera singer, Section 30, Range 2, Plot F, Grave 8
  • Dom Deluise (1933-2009), actor - 2nd, Section 42
  • 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 – "Second Calvary", section 6B, range 13, plot A, grave 3
  • 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
  • Edward Le Roy Rice (1871-1938), producer of minstrel shows
  • 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 106-16
  • Bert Wheeler (1895–1968), comedian – 1st, Section 47, plot 46, grave 29, Catholic Actors Guild lot

Law enforcement professionals[edit]

  • Joseph Petrosino (1860–1909), NYPD's first commanding officer of the "Black Hand Squad" (aka Italian Squad), a precursor to the NYPD's Bomb Squad, who investigated the Italian Mafia who used explosives to shake down businesses in NYC. Detective Lieutenant Petrosino, an Italian-American, was the first NYPD officer killed overseas in the "line of duty," while investigating organized crime in Italy. Subject of the film Pay or Die – 3rd, Section 22, range 9, plot K, graves 17/18
  • Irma Lozada (April 26, 1959 – September 21, 1984 ) a.k.a. "Fran," was a member of the New York City Transit Police who was slain in 1984, becoming the first female police officer to die in the line of duty in New York City.

Military figures[edit]

Organized crime figures[edit]




See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The New York Moon - Three Million Dead in Queens". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  2. ^
  3. ^ "Calvary Cemetery Pictures, Queens County, New York". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  4. ^ "The Cemetery Belt", Newsday article by Rhona Amon. (Original URL broken, but mirrored at Juniper Park Civic Association)
  5. ^ The journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Volume 7 (1907)
  6. ^ "Popular Mechanics". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Calvary Monument". New York City Department of Parks.
  8. ^ a b c d e Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7.
  9. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved 27 November 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°44′07″N 73°55′05″W / 40.73528°N 73.91806°W / 40.73528; -73.91806