The Brooklyn band of the same name is off on tour right now, but you can still see A Place to Bury Strangers (two of them, actually!) when these landmark East Village cemeteries, usually off limits, open to the public.
New York Marble Cemetery
April 30 and May 1 and 29, noon to 4pm, 41 1/2 2nd Ave., bet. E. 2nd and 3rd Sts.
Incorporated in 1831, the oldest public non-sectarian cemetery in New York City drew headlines last year when two in-ground plots– the last remaining ones in Manhattan– came up for sale for $350,000 apiece. From April through October, the New York City landmark holds open houses about once a month. If you want to see what that $350K will get you, your best bet is to go on May 29, when descendants of some of the cemetery’s permanent residents will be on hand as part of Lower East Side History Month. Don’t worry, none of them will be grieving– the last internment here was in 1937, and most of the 2,080 burials took place between 1830 and 1870. Notable residents include the second elected mayor of New York, Aaron Clark, and the chief engineer of the Eerie Canal, Benjamin Wright, as well as New Yorkers with familiar last names like Hoyt, Mott, and Varick.
The New York City Marble Cemetery
Sunday, May 1, 11am to 5pm, 60 East 2nd Street, bet. 1st and 2nd Aves.
Spring Open Day — Open to the public, free admission
You’d never guess it, but a former president once lay in the East Village. James Monroe was one of the first to be buried in this cemetery located a block away from, and opened a year after, the similarly named New York Marble Cemetery. (He was moved to Virginia 27 years later.) Among those whose remains remain are two former mayors, one of whom went on to be governor; six Roosevelts, including the founder of Roosevelt Hospital; and a prominent merchant named– I kid you not– Preserved Fish. The relative of governor, senator, and secretary of state Hamilton Fish (as in, Hamilton Fish Pool, on the LES) inherited his curious name from his father– it was meant to indicate he was “preserved from sin.” After some adventures in– no joke– shipping whale oil, Preserved Fish, Jr. went on to become a director of the budding Bank of America in 1812. Other families with vaults here include the Kips of Kips Bay and the Booraems of Boreum Hill.