Calvary Cemetery (Queens)

Coordinates: 40°44′07″N 73°55′05″W / 40.73528°N 73.91806°W / 40.73528; -73.91806
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Calvary Cemetery
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 three million burials,[1] it has the largest number of interments of any cemetery in the United States.[2] Established in 1848, Calvary Cemetery covers 365 acres (148 ha) 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."


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, Manhattan, 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 (29 ha) of land from John McMenoy and John McNolte in Maspeth and this land was used to develop Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery was named after Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the New Testament.

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."[4] The cemetery was consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848. 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]

Blissville gate of Old Calvary

Calvary was accessible by ferryboats crossing the East River from 23rd Street in Manhattan. 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 Manhattan's 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 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 continues to add plots and burial spaces can be purchased in advance.

In 1949, several hundred workers at the cemetery went on strike.


Calvary is split into four sections. The first section is known as First Calvary or Old Calvary, and is located to the west of the section of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway (I-278) that runs between the Long Island Expressway (I-495) interchange and Newtown Creek. The others are known collectively as New Calvary, and as a group to the east of the above-mentioned section of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.

  1. First Calvary Cemetery is bounded by the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, Review Ave and 37th Street.
  2. Second Calvary Cemetery is in-between the Long Island and Brooklyn–Queens Expressways, and also bounded by 48th Street and 58th Street. The cemetery's offices are located here, at 49–02 Laurel Hill Boulevard.
  3. Third Calvary Cemetery is north of the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway, and also bounded by Queens Boulevard, 49th Street and 58th Street.
  4. Fourth Calvary Cemetery is south of the Long Island Expressway, and also bounded by 55th Avenue, 50th Street and 58th Street.

The chapel was designed by Raymond F. Almirall.[6] Originally a frame structure, it was rebuilt using limestone in 1908.[7]

Cavalry Veterans Park[edit]

The Old Cavalry section of the cemetery is a city-owned public park that serves as a burial ground, the Calvary Veterans Park. [8]

Calvary Monument[edit]

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

The Calvary Monument, erected in 1866, originally with bronze sculptures is located in the park. It is by Daniel Draddy, one of the Draddy Brothers, who sculpted the obelisk to William James MacNeven.[9] There is no signage from either entrance, nor any mention on the official web site's maps. It is located at 40°43′51″N 73°55′47″W / 40.7308°N 73.9297°W / 40.7308; -73.9297. The monument was last renovated in 1929. A conservation effort was initiated in 2009, but as of 2022 is not done.

The monument honors the 69th Regiment.

Notable burials[edit]


Law enforcement professionals[edit]

  • Irma Lozada (1959–1984 ) 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.
  • 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
  • Mary A. Sullivan (1878/1879–1950), first woman in NYPD to be a homicide detective, lieutenant and first grade detective. Founded the Policewoman's Endowment Association.[10]

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. ^ a b Amon, Rhona (October 23, 2007). "The Cemetery Belt". Newsday – via Juniper Park Civic Association.
  5. ^ The journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Volume 7 (1907)
  6. ^ "Popular Mechanics". 1909. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Calvary Cemetery".
  8. ^ "Calvary Monument". New York City Department of Parks.
  9. ^ The Multilingual Apple: Languages in New York City, Ofelia García, Joshua A. Fishman, Walter de Gruyter, 1 mars 2011
  10. ^ "Mrs. Sullivan's Funeral; Ex-Head of Policewomen's Unit Mourned by Members of Force". The New York Times. September 15, 1950. p. 25. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
  11. ^ Gallucci Funeral Guarded, The New York Times, May 25, 1915
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ 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.
  14. ^ O'Hanlon, Ray (February 28, 2007). "Putting things right". The Irish Echo. Archived from the original on 2 March 2007.

External links[edit]

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