Brooklyn cemetery in danger of dying out

June 23, 2010 04:30PM

William “Boss” Tweed and the chapel at Green-Wood cemetery

A Brooklyn cemetery is running out of burial plots, its main revenue source, after being turned into a non-profit that gives tours and hosts cultural exhibits several years ago. With nearly 600,000 people buried there, including politician William “Boss” Tweed, the cemetery will likely run out of new space in five years, the Wall Street Journal reported. A group of entrepreneurs started the 478-acre Green-Wood Cemetery, at 5th Avenue and 25th Street in Sunset Park, as a for-profit business in 1838. Over the years, visitation dropped and the cemetery eventually closed its historic chapel, which became too expensive to maintain. These days, a plot
there sells for $11,000. More than half of the organization’s roughly $14 million in revenue came from sales of burial plots in 2009, which dropped to $6 million last year from $7.6 million in 2008. With investment income remaining flat, the cemetery’s operating loss stood at $2 million in 2009. [WSJ]