Two structures at Green-Wood Cemetery were officially designated New York City landmarks on April 12.
The decision by the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) to designate the cemetery’s 19th century gatehouse on Fort Hamilton Parkway and early 20th century Gothic chapel provides safeguards for the two structures from alteration or demolition, both of which would require LPC approval.
“The buildings we are designating are designed by some of the finest architects in New York City’s history,” said Landmarks Preservation Commission Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan. “The Fort Hamilton Parkway Entrance and the Chapel are the most architecturally significant buildings in Green-Wood Cemetery. The designation of these structures, together, represents the cemetery’s unique history, architectural excellence, and its relationship with its charming, picturesque surroundings.”
The cemetery’s brownstone Gothic-revival entrance at 25th Street and Fifth Avenue was landmarked by the LPC in 1966, but numerous other city landmark proposals have languished since that time. The two structures were among eight locations designated during LPC’s April 12 meeting.
According to Green-Wood’s website, the newly-landmarked Historic Green-Wood Chapel was designed in 1911 by the Warren and Wetmore architectural firm, which is also credited with the design of 1913’s Grand Central Terminal, among other buildings in the New York City area. Beginning in 1981, the cemetery was considered for a comprehensive landmarking, but the proposal was rejected by cemetery officials in favor of the more selective designation of the chapel and gatehouse entrance.
“Designating Green-Wood’s Historic Chapel and the Gatehouse and its cottage as New York City landmarks is a reasonable compromise to the LPC’s original proposal to landmark the entire cemetery,” said Richard Moylan, president of Green-Wood Cemetery, “Green-Wood has a longstanding and strong commitment to the historic preservation of our monuments, buildings, statuary and landscape. It is a responsibility we take very seriously.
“In fact,” Moylan went on, “our iconic Gothic Revival main gate (1863), designed by Richard Upjohn and his son Richard M. Upjohn, was designated a city landmark in 1966. Green-Wood is currently working closely with the LPC to restore another 19th-century city landmark, the Weir Greenhouse, which we purchased in 2012.”
Established in 1838, the cemetery is recognized as the fourth rural cemetery in the United States, and is known as the resting place of artists such as Jean-Michel Basquiat, as well as numerous politicians, activists and writers. The cemetery also serves as the resting place for some 9,300 Civil War veterans, some of which who served during the war as army generals.