Moravian Cemetery

The Moravian Cemetery is a cemetery in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island, New York City.[1]

Moravian Cemetery
Mausoleum of the Vanderbilt family
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40.584°N 74.119°W / 40.584; -74.119
Size113 acres (46 ha)
Find a GraveMoravian Cemetery


Located at 2205 Richmond Road, the Moravian Cemetery is the largest and oldest active cemetery on Staten Island, having opened in 1740. The cemetery encompasses 113 acres (46 hectares) and is the property of the local Moravian Church congregation of Staten Island.[2] To the cemetery's southwest is High Rock Park, one of the constituent parks of the Staten Island Greenbelt.


In what was a purely farming community, the 113-acre (46 ha) cemetery was originally made available as a free cemetery for the public in order to discourage families from using farm burial plots. The Moravian Cemetery is the burial place for a number of famous Staten Islanders, including members of the Vanderbilt family.[2]

After the closure in the 1880s of the South Reformed Dutch Church in Richmondtown the graves of that church's graveyard were reinterred at Moravian.[3]

A monument to Robert Gould Shaw, a Union soldier who led the first all-black regiment in the American Civil War and died in the Second Battle of Fort Wagner, was erected here by his family.[4] The director Martin Scorsese also has a burial plot here.

Notable burials

Vanderbilt Family Cemetery

In the 19th century, Cornelius Vanderbilt gave the Moravian Church 45 acres (18 ha). Later, his son William Henry Vanderbilt gave a further 4 acres (1.6 ha) and constructed the residence for the cemetery superintendent.

The Vanderbilt Mausoleum, designed by Richard Morris Hunt and constructed in 1885–1886, is part of the family's privately owned cemetery. The Vanderbilt Mausoleum is a replica of a Romanesque church in Arles, France. The Vanderbilt Cemetery landscape was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The cemetery is not open to the public.[2] The Vanderbilt Mausoleum and portions of the cemetery were designated a New York City designated landmark in 2016.[5]

Italian-American Catholics

The cemetery is the burial place for a great many Italian-American Catholics even though it is a Protestant cemetery. This is due to the efforts of Father Ettore Barletta who was in charge of the Italian Mission congregation at the nearby Moravian Church in the early 1900s, Catholic mafia families who had been refused a Catholic burial were offered burials in this cemetery.

Famous names

  • Mark W. Allen (1877–1958), businessman and New York state senator.
  • Alice Austen (1886–1952), notable 20th-century photographer.
  • Thomas Bilotti (1940–1985), mobster and underboss in the Gambino crime family
  • Alfred Thompson Bricher (1837-1908), painter associated with White Mountain art and the Hudson River School
  • Frank Cali (1965–2019), former reputed boss of the Gambino crime family.
  • John Merven Carrère (1858–1911), partner in notable Beaux-Arts architecture firm.
  • Paul Castellano (1915–1985), former boss of the Gambino crime family.
  • John Celardo (1918-2012), comic strip and comic book artist
  • Charles P. Clinch, playwright and government official who served as Collector of the Port of New York
  • Frank DeCicco (1935–1986), former underboss of the Gambino crime family.
  • John Eberhard Faber (1822–1879), German-born American manufacturer of pencils.
  • Frank J. LeFevre (1874–1941), Congressman.
  • John A. Lynch (1882–1954), New York state senator and Staten Island borough president.
  • Jim Mutrie (1851-1938), baseball pioneer.
  • John L. O'Sullivan (1813–1895), journalist who first utilized in print the phrase Manifest Destiny to embody American expansionist ambitions.
  • William Page (1811-1885), painter and portrait artist
  • Anning Smith Prall (1870–1937), Congressman and Chairman of the Federal Communications Commission.
  • Bradhurst Schieffelin (1821–1909), 19th Century social activist.
  • Charles Scorsese (1913–1993) and Catherine Scorsese (1912–1997), father and mother of director Martin Scorsese
  • Stephen H. Weed (1831–1863), Union general who died in the Battle of Gettysburg.
  • Paul Zindel (1936–2003), notable playwright and young adult novelist.

In the novel It's Superman: A Novel, the mother of the character Lex Luthor is buried in the Moravian Cemetery.[6]

See also


  1. Moravian Cemetery Find a Grave, Cemetery ID 65299.
  2. "About Us". Moravian Cemetery Website. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  3. Site of Reformed Dutch Church Accessed February 11, 2018
  4. O'Grady, Jim (November 14, 1999). "Neighborhood Report: New Springville; Here Lies Ichabod Crane, But You'd Hardly Know It". The New York Times. Retrieved September 1, 2018.
  5. Dunlap, David W. (April 12, 2016). "Pepsi-Cola Sign in Queens Gains Landmark Status". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 8, 2020.
  6. De Haven, Tom. It's Superman. Random House, 2011, page 116

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