still cheaper than a condo
June 30, 2015 10:52 AM   Subscribe

For $350K You Can Spend Eternity In Manhattan
"Until you open a vault, you don’t know what you’re going to find," Iverson says. For example: either of two former mayors of the city, one also a former governor of New York; six Roosevelts; a Revolutionary War hero; a pioneering archeologist of Maya civilization; the Dutch dominies, whose bones are the oldest white men’s bones in Manhattan; or what’s left of a once-prominent merchant named Preserved Fish III.
posted by poffin boffin (24 comments total) 10 users marked this as a favorite
...whose bones are the oldest white men’s bones in Manhattan

Aren't all men's bones white?

I'll see myself out.

posted by leotrotsky at 10:58 AM on June 30, 2015 [10 favorites]

says the plots went for $250 back in 1830, which gives it about a 4% return on investment over the last 185 years, not very good. Should have taken the 4 acres in Long Island for the same price, I'm sure that would be worth a fortune. Or in other words, these things were hella expensive back in 1830 too.
posted by skewed at 11:05 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I have never given a thought about New York City cemeteries and where people who live there might be one day be buried so this is fascinating. I have been slowly but surely checking off the Magnificent Seven every time I go to London (only four to go!), so I have been aware of the exclusivity of those burial spaces. Thanks for posting this, poffin boffin!
posted by Kitteh at 11:06 AM on June 30, 2015 [2 favorites]

Crypts in New Orleans cemeteries can go for as much as half a million dollars.
posted by ColdChef at 11:11 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC remains affordable and is home to J. Edgar Hoover, Marion Barry, and this man.
posted by exogenous at 11:19 AM on June 30, 2015

Aren't all men's bones white?

posted by JDHarper at 11:25 AM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

"Crypts in New Orleans cemeteries can go for as much as half a million dollars."

and yet throwing a body from the elevated portion of I-10 into the swamps west of Kenner remains free.
posted by komara at 11:30 AM on June 30, 2015 [17 favorites]

that was fascinating
posted by Lutoslawski at 11:33 AM on June 30, 2015

This makes me curious if it would be legal to build a pyramid in Manhattan. Some Googling tells me that the Great Pyramid of Giza is 756ft per side, and that a standard block in Manhattan is 264 by 900 feet, so some vastly wealthy individual or group would need a 3x1 city block lot of land. Plenty of room for your pyramid and then a memorial park or other monuments. It's only 455 ft high, which is nothing in the city. I'm wondering if there would be laws against interring your remains in such a structure in the city.

It would be fabulously expensive, but do you really want to be buried in the dirt like some peasant?
posted by Sangermaine at 11:34 AM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]

What if it was just a small pyramid, like backyard sized.

i want to be cremated and have my ashes blown into the faces of sweaty tourists on the F train platform by an oncoming train at broadway lafayette midafternoon on a summer saturday
posted by poffin boffin at 11:38 AM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Anubis just standing there in the afterlife being like "pfffffff nice pyramid dweeblord, guess I'll get out the little scales"

Do you really want to get dunked on by Anubis because that's what little pyramids gets you
posted by the uncomplicated soups of my childhood at 11:49 AM on June 30, 2015 [13 favorites]

All are naked in the afterlife. It's Anubis colony.
posted by benzenedream at 12:00 PM on June 30, 2015 [3 favorites]

Sangermaine they kind of are over on west 57th street.

Obtaining the land as you outline it would be truly breathtakingly expensive. The easiest cost I can find for a NYC city block was the $2 billion Google reportedly paid for its building at 111 8th ave, so if you triple that to build your pyramid in Chelsea you're talking spending $6 billion, not counting demo and construction costs. If you're going to spend that you could also just reserve the Presidential Suite at the Mandarin Oriental for your corpse for... roughly 400 years?
posted by Wretch729 at 12:16 PM on June 30, 2015

posted by carter at 12:16 PM on June 30, 2015

Aren't all men's bones white?

Can depend on the soil they're buried in actually. Typically they are more of a greasy yellow, particularly if "fresh." The bleached white stereotype actually requires a great deal of time and exposure.

Anyway, the point is that declining burial space in Manhattan is a silly problem that can be easily solved, like most things, by cannibalism. We're apt to be much less reverent with remains after we've cracked them open to suck out their sweet delicious marrow.
posted by Panjandrum at 12:30 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

I took one of Greenwood's tours a couple of months ago (if you live in New York or are visiting, go on one. There aren't that many really famous people there, but the history is fascinating). The tour guide said that they had less than 30 years (and maybe it was 20, I can't remember) of space left at the current rate of burials/internment. I don't know if this includes the mausoleum, but it at least covers all the space for burial plots. I would not be surprised if Woodlawn was in a similar situation. So in 30 years, according to my guide, burial in any part of New York will be quite difficult. (There are smaller cemeteries scattered all over New York, but those are the two big ones and the guide was implying that the smaller ones are mostly full.)

The solution to this, of course, it to reuse gravesites, as is done in much of Europe. But I cannot see that going over well in the US, especially for graves that were previously bought and presumed to be permanent.
posted by Hactar at 12:51 PM on June 30, 2015

$6bn ain't much for a first tier 21st century oligarch. I wonder what sort of property tax you'd be looking at? I bet you could pull some sort of shenanigans to limit it.
posted by wotsac at 12:55 PM on June 30, 2015

STUNNING DEAL on an EAST VILLAGE COOP. 1bd/0ba/50sf, cozy, easy subway access, quiet neighbors, v. secure, no maint. fees! $350k.
posted by miyabo at 1:41 PM on June 30, 2015 [4 favorites]

I can't even afford to die in Manhattan.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:50 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

So if I move to Manhattan... I'm immortal!
posted by shakespeherian at 3:25 PM on June 30, 2015

No you have to get cursed by a witch that states you'll never die or age so long as you stay on the island of Manhattan.

I mean, that's what I say when I don't want to go to Queens.
posted by The Whelk at 5:20 PM on June 30, 2015 [1 favorite]

You don't actually need a city block. Crypts are a traditional and (as far as I understand) religiously acceptable solution for most people whose traditions mandate burial. You store the remains in a sarcophagus for years/decades, then they get rotated down into long-term storage.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:42 PM on June 30, 2015

Hoiw about one of those huge underground crypts like in Paris with piles of bones but instead of no-name bodies it's investment bankers and instead of them being bones we seal them up in there alive?
posted by The Whelk at 5:50 PM on June 30, 2015 [5 favorites]

we can use that old creepy train station on canal street where you walk from the 6 to the 1 through the tunnel of horrors and legionnaire's disease
posted by poffin boffin at 6:32 PM on June 30, 2015

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