Trustees
 

CHAIRMAN
C. Payson Coleman, Jr.

VICE CHAIRMAN
Michael C. Brooks

John R.H. Blum

Peter W. Davidson

Elizabeth Rohn Jeffe

Malcolm MacKay

J. Douglas Maxwell, Jr.

Scot Medbury

Hugh O’Kane, Jr.

Otis Pratt Pearsall

John R. Reese

Carla P. Shen

Sam Sifton

Allie Sweeney

Walter C. Teagle III

Earl D. Weiner

Samuel G. White

TRUSTEES EMERITUS
Denise Crimmins Clayton

Thomas C. Pryor

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THE 2016 ANNUAL REPORT

To mark the launch of our new digital format, we celebrate Green-Wood’s rising leadership as a cultural and community institution.

For the love of

NATURE

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Conor McBride

“There are few places in the world where art, history, and nature converge to such glorious effect.”

SAM SIFTON
Food Editor, The New York Times; Green-Wood Trustee

The radiant monk parakeets dwelling in the gothic brownstone arches at Green-Wood take little notice of the arrivals who exhale the stresses of city life for a carefully curated landscape devoted to rest and contemplation. Originally designed for picturesque carriage rides in a time before there were public parks or museums in New York, 21st-century visitors stroll under old shade trees and relax in the cool valleys by glacial ponds just as their 19th-century counterparts might have done.

Accredited as a Level II arboretum, Green-Wood is home to one of the oldest, largest and most diverse tree collections in the Northeast (over 8,000 trees and shrubs) and more than 200 species of birds.

For the love of

PERFORMANCE

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Fran Dickson

“In a city with thousands of performance venues, there’s nothing else like Green-Wood.”

JOHN TURTURRO
Actor, Writer, Director

Producers, playwrights, and performers are always looking for ways to inspire with unique ways to showcase their work. Spirited away from conventional stage and screen venues, players revel in truly unique settings of Green-Wood. A great example is “A Night at Niblo’s Garden.” Performed on the lawn of the magnificent Niblo family museum, the evening pairs The Bindelstiff Family Cirkus with an unforgettable setting. Audience members bring picnic baskets for a vintage summer revelry of fire jugglers, water performances, singers of songs, and dramatic tableaux.

For the love of

HISTORY

Come in to Green-Wood

“Green-Wood stands apart as a thriving testament to the centerpiece of all history: the people who made it.”

KEN BURNS
Documentary Filmmaker

For a world immersed in technology and life displayed on screens, a visit to Green-Wood is a retreat to the founding of baseball, the first American musical, the whiskey rebellion, and the composing of West Side Story. Pay tribute to the noble and the infamous, research your own past, or walk in the footsteps of those who shaped our country and the world; names like Clinton, Bernstein, Steinway, Basquiat, Torrio, Pierrepont, and so many more.

Green-Wood is not only steeped in history, it continues to make history with events, exhibitions, and community programming. Its restoration and preservation efforts include the creation of a searchable digital database of over 180 years of burials.

“It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.”

The New York Times, 1866

For the love of

FAMILY

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Maike Schulz

“A sanctuary built for the purpose of commemorating families has also become a lively destination for them.”

NYDIA VELÁZQUEZ
U.S. Congressional Representative, 7th District, New York

More than perhaps any other location or institution in the city, Green-Wood is truly and fundamentally about the full circle of life. Our charter may have focused on mortality, but our evolution has been about vitality.

In addition to interments, cremations, and funeral services, Green-Wood supports families with weddings in our beguiling 1911 chapel, educational and storytelling programs for the kids, and festive events like our Fall Family Scavenger Hunt and our popular annual Memorial Day concert.

Genealogy has become an important and passionate endeavor for many in the age of the internet, when so much information is available at your fingertips. Millions can trace their history back to at least one of the over 570,000 people interred at Green-Wood. Through our “Green-ealogy” program, a fee-for-service program, our expert researchers can call up unique, usually never-before-seen documents such as family letters, burial instructions, family trees, and our magnificent handwritten ledger books.

Photo: Marina Matt

For the love of

STORYTELLING

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Jason Falchook

“What better venue for sharing personal tales than where there’s a story around every corner?”

CATHERINE BURNS
Artistic Director, The Moth

Themed tours like Scandals, Scalawags, and Murder Most Foul; Dead Distillers; the Wacky World of Victorian Fads; Early Pioneers of Baseball, and much more tell the stories of our permanent residents. But that’s just the beginning.

Visitors to Green-Wood discover new stories all the time. A gravestone with a mysterious epitaph, symbolism or even an unusual sculpture, can all inspire the curious. The story of New York City’s first female police detective. New York City’s first African-American millionaire. The first man to photograph the moon.

Storytelling at Green-Wood, as the producers of The Moth storytelling series (heard on NPR stations around the country) discovered, has special resonance in a place with more stories per square foot than any other place in New York.

For the love of

SERENITY

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Sean Sime

“The natural beauty of the trees, the landscape’s dramatic contours, and the countless markers of mortality make Green-Wood an enchanting and deeply personal place.”

MATTHEW JENSEN
Artist, Guggenheim Fellow

The experience of visiting Green-Wood is serene by design. The beautiful interior of Hillside mausoleum has a five-story waterfall, two pyramid skylights, and a reflecting pool. Tranquility Garden is an Asian-inspired design with stone, wood, glass and a koi pond. For its abiding tranquility Green-Wood has become a location of choice for meditation and contemplation of every type and variety.

For the love of

COMMUNITY

Come in to Green-Wood

“Events and gatherings at Green-Wood are special because a cemetery confers a sense of reverence and respect.”

JULIA JEAN-FRANCOIS
Co-Director, Center for Family Life

As the first non-sectarian cemetery in Brooklyn, all are welcome at Green-Wood, which is open to the public at no cost, 365 days a year. School programs, writers’ workshops, community board meetings, book talks, and more take place in Green-Wood’s historic chapel throughout the year. All faiths are embraced including, within the last decade, outdoor funerary burners for the Buddhist ritual of Qingming.

Green-Wood also serves the business and entertainment communities. Viewers of Blacklist, Trainwreck, The Americans, Daredevil, Mr. Robot, Gotham, The Girl on the Train, and Elementary have seen the cemetery featured. In 2016, the location starred in its first virtual-reality shoot, a New York Times “immersive narrative” short based on the bestselling novel, “Lincoln in the Bardo” by George Saunders.

For almost 20 years, Green-Wood’s free Memorial Day Concert has been regularly attended by over 3,000. Our popular Memorial Day commemoration is also free of charge every year. The annual Gay Green-Wood tour, in partnership with the NYC LGBT Historic Sites Project, visits the resting places of influential LGBT figures from the arts, business, politics, and the gay rights movement.

Photo: Maike Schulz

For the love of

ART

Come in to Green-Wood

“Green-Wood is a spectacular outdoor museum, but the true work of art is Green-Wood itself.”

SHARON MATT-ATKINS
Director of Curatorial Affairs, Brooklyn Museum

More than three decades before either The Met or the Brooklyn Museum opened their doors, the grand sculptures of Green-Wood were on view for all to see.

Sculptures, obelisks, bas-reliefs, and stained glass are more than just placeholders to memorialize residents. Highlighted with historic cast-iron street signs, a myriad of artistic styles are on view, from Gothic to Renaissance, Romanesque, Egyptian Revival, Art Deco, and more.

Green-Wood also has a special relationship to artists themselves. Over 400 are interred at Green-Wood, including George Catlin, Asher Brown Durand, George Bellows, Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Leon Golub.

For the love of

MUSIC

Come in to Green-Wood

“When live music is especially matched to its setting the entire experience is amplified.”

WES JACKSON
Executive Director, Brooklyn Hip-Hop Festival

Live music in New York is as much about the setting as about the program. From below-ground concerts to the unique acoustics in the chapel, the sounds of Green-Wood are uniquely enticing. Nights of Blues, Folk, and Rock transform Green-Wood into a first-class performance venue, with quests such as three-time Grammy winner Larry Campbell with Teresa Williams.

Jazz At Twilight is a members-only concert featuring headliners like Sweet Megg and the Wayfarers. Concerts In the Catacombs is touted as “New York’s most unique music experience,” with unmatched acoustic quality in a studio of stone.

For the love of

ENCHANTMENT

Come in to Green-Wood

Photo: Chase Guttman

“Green-Wood is a cultural and historical treasure. That it happens also to be something of a best-kept secret may be part of its magic.”

RICHARD J. MOYLAN
Green-Wood President

Many have tried, but perhaps no one knows quite how to explain it. The feeling you get when you come in to Green-Wood is more than just the hush of leaving the city behind, the peace of embracing the circle of life, the beauty of well-tended grounds interspersed with wild nature. It’s a sense of the rightness of things. The oddly comforting mix of both the permanent and temporal nature of life.

There are places in New York where you can find more art. There are places with a greater expanse of nature. And there are places with as much historical provenance and artifacts. But there’s no place in New York where you can find all of that in one place, married together in one remarkable, enchanting experience, except in Green-Wood.

There is but one message that can turn a hurried, harried New-Yorker into a Green-Wood convert: Come in.