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Moravian Cemetery

Coordinates: 40°34′48″N 74°7′00″W / 40.58000°N 74.11667°W / 40.58000; -74.11667
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Moravian Cemetery
CountryUnited States
Coordinates40°35′02″N 74°07′08″W / 40.584°N 74.119°W / 40.584; -74.119
Size113 acres (46 ha)
Find a GraveMoravian Cemetery

The Moravian Cemetery is a cemetery in the New Dorp neighborhood of Staten Island, New York, United States.


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.[1] 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In what was a purely farming community, the 113-acre (46 ha) cemetery was originally made available as a free cemetery for the public in order to discourage families from using farm burial plots. 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.[2]

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.[3]

The Moravian Cemetery is the burial place for a number of famous Staten Islanders, including members of the Vanderbilt family.[1] The director Martin Scorsese also has a burial plot here.

Notable burials[edit]

Vanderbilt Mausoleum

Vanderbilt Family Cemetery[edit]

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

The Vanderbilt Mausoleum was designed by Richard Morris Hunt and constructed in 1885–1886. It is part of the family's privately owned cemetery, which is not open to the public.[1] The Vanderbilt Mausoleum is a replica of a Romanesque church in Arles, France.

The Vanderbilt family cemetery's landscaping was designed by Frederick Law Olmsted. The Vanderbilt Mausoleum and portions of the cemetery were designated a New York City designated landmark in 2016.[4]

Italian-American Catholics[edit]

The cemetery is the burial place of 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.

Notable burials[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

In the novel It's Superman: A Novel, the mother of the character Lex Luthor is buried in the Moravian Cemetery.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c "About Us". Moravian Cemetery Website. Retrieved October 4, 2013.
  2. ^ Site of Reformed Dutch Church Accessed February 11, 2018
  3. ^ 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.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ De Haven, Tom. It's Superman. Random House, 2011, p. 116

40°34′48″N 74°7′00″W / 40.58000°N 74.11667°W / 40.58000; -74.11667