Not even death is an escape from New York’s expensive real estate

Burial plots and crypts in NYC are getting smaller and more expensive as supply wanes

New York Weekend Edition /
Mar.March 30, 2019 04:00 PM

Plots typically go for between $4,500 to $19,000 (Credit: iStock, uniquelycat/Cathy Smith via Flickr)

There’s barely a square foot New York City real estate that doesn’t sell for a premium and it’s no different in the city’s increasingly crowded cemeteries.

The cost of burial plots in the cemeteries that dot the city have increased over the years, while plot sizes have shrunk as land becomes scarce, according to the New York Times.

Plots typically go for between $4,500 to $19,000 before maintenance and other fees, but pricing is all about location and prestige, just like real estate for the living.

Naturally, Manhattan is the most expensive place to be buried. An above-ground crypt at Trinity Church Hamilton Heights cemetery goes for up to $60,000 and each of the nine soon-to-be-available granite crypts in the catacombs beneath the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral on Mulberry Street are asking $1 million.

On the more affordable side, some cemeteries offer plots that can fit two or three caskets stacked one above the other. Meanwhile, a two-square-foot plot for cremated remains to be buried at Cypress Hills Cemetery in Brooklyn starts at $1,200, according to the Times.

Despite high pricing, some cemeteries are seeing declining revenue from plot sales as they run out of land. Others, however, are finding that new burial methods and preferences, like cremation, mean they have more space than they anticipated.

For example, officials at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn estimated 10 years ago that they would have to stop selling plots by 2015, but the shift toward smaller-footprint memorials means there could now be room there for decades — good news for New Yorkers who ascribe to it as their ultimate purchase.

“It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood,” the Times wrote more than 150 years ago. [NYT] – Dennis Lynch


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