|Owned by||The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York|
|No. of interments||≈ 3 million|
|Find a Grave||64107|
Calvary Cemetery is a Roman Catholic cemetery in Maspeth and Woodside, Queens, in New York City, New York, United States. With about 3 million burials, it has the largest number of interments of any cemetery in the United States. Established in 1848, Calvary Cemetery covers 365 acres and is owned by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of New York and managed by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral.
Calvary Cemetery is divided into four sections, spread across the neighborhoods of Maspeth and Woodside. The oldest, First Calvary, is also called "Old Calvary." The Second, Third and Fourth sections are all considered part of "New Calvary."
In 1817, the Trustees of Old St. Patrick's Cathedral on Mott Street, Manhattan, realized that their original cemetery on Mulberry Street was almost full. In 1847, faced with cholera epidemics and a shortage of burial grounds in Manhattan, the New York State Legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act authorizing nonprofit corporations to operate commercial cemeteries. On October 29, 1845 Old St. Patrick's Cathedral trustees had purchased 71 acres of land from John McMenoy and John McNolte in Maspeth and this land was used to develop Calvary Cemetery. The cemetery was named after Mount Calvary, where Jesus Christ was crucified according to the New Testament.
The first Calvary Cemetery burial occurred on July 31, 1848. The name of the deceased was Esther Ennis, who reportedly “died of a broken heart.” The cemetery was consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848. By 1852 there were 50 burials a day, half of them poor Irish under seven years of age. In the early 20th century, influenza and tuberculosis epidemics caused a shortage of gravediggers, and people dug graves for their own loved ones. The entire number of interments from the cemetery's opening in August 1848 until January 1898, was 644,761. From January 1898 until 1907 there were about 200,000 interments, thus yielding roughly 850,000 interments at Calvary Cemetery by 1907.
Calvary was accessible by ferryboats crossing the East River from 23rd Street in Manhattan. It cost an adult seven dollars to be buried there. Burial of children under age seven cost three dollars; children aged seven to fourteen cost five dollars. As development in Manhattan's East Village expanded, bodies buried in that neighborhood were transferred to Queens. In 1854, ferry service opened by 10th Street and the East River.
The original division of the cemetery, now known as First Calvary or Old Calvary, was filled by 1867. The Archdiocese of New York expanded the area of the cemetery, adding more sections, and by the 1990s there were nearly 3 million burials in Calvary Cemetery. The Cemetery continues to add plots and burial spaces can be purchased in advance.
In 1949, several hundred workers at the cemetery went on strike.
Calvary is split into four sections. The first section is known as First Calvary or Old Calvary. The others are known collectively as New Calvary.
- First Calvary Cemetery is located between the Long Island Expressway and Review Avenue. The cemetery's offices are located here, at 49–02 Laurel Hill Boulevard.
- Second Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between Queens Boulevard and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
- Third Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway.
- Fourth Calvary Cemetery is located on the west side of 58th Street between the Long Island Expressway and 55th Avenue.
There is no signage from the main entrance directing one to the monument which is located at.
- Nancy Carroll (1903–1965), actress – 3rd, Section 35, range 10, lot Q, grave 14/15
- Ferruccio Corradetti (1867–1939), opera singer, Section 30, Range 2, Plot F, Grave 8
- Dom DeLuise (1933–2009), actor - 2nd, Section 42
- Tess Gardella (1894–1950), actress who played Aunt Jemima – 1st, Section 56, range 129, grave 18
- Patrick Gilmore (1829–1882), "Father of the American Band" – 1st, Section 10, plot 15
- Texas Guinan (1884–1933), actress and saloon-keeper – 1st, Section 47, plot F
- Robert Harron (1893–1920), actor – "Second Calvary", section 6B, range 13, plot A, grave 3
- James Hayden (1953–1983), actor
- Joseph E. Howard (1878–1961), American composer ("Emerson and Howard")
- Patsy Kelly (1910–1981), actress – 4th, Section 66, plot 40, grave 7
- James Murray (1901–1936), actor – 3rd, Section 21, range 6, plot 4
- Nita Naldi (1894–1961), actress – 1st, Section 1W, range 5AA, plot 13/14, grave 5
- Arthur O'Connell (1908–1981), actor – 3rd, Section 34, row 7, range Q, plot 10/11
- Una O'Connor (1880–1959), actress – 4th, Section 70, plot 46, grave 16
- Edward Le Roy Rice (1871-1938), producer of minstrel shows
- William J. Scanlan (1856–1898), singer
- Wini Shaw (1907–1982), actress – 3rd, Section 33, range 1F, grave 34
- Joe Spinell (1936–1989), actor – 1st, Section 51, lot 106-16
- Bert Wheeler (1895–1968), comedian – 1st, Section 47, plot 46, grave 29, Catholic Actors Guild lot
Law enforcement professionals
- Irma Lozada (April 26, 1959 – September 21, 1984 ) a.k.a. "Fran," was a member of the New York City Transit Police who was slain in 1984, becoming the first female police officer to die in the line of duty in New York City.
- Joseph Petrosino (1860–1909), NYPD's first commanding officer of the "Black Hand Squad" (aka Italian Squad), a precursor to the NYPD's Bomb Squad, who investigated the Italian Mafia who used explosives to shake down businesses in NYC. Detective Lieutenant Petrosino, an Italian-American, was the first NYPD officer killed overseas in the "line of duty," while investigating organized crime in Italy. Subject of the film Pay or Die – 3rd, Section 22, range 9, plot K, graves 17/18
- Mary A. Sullivan (1878/1879–1950), first woman in NYPD to be a homicide detective, lieutenant and first grade detective. Founded the Policewoman's Endowment Association.
- Edward Brown, Jr. (1841–1911), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Thomas Burke (1842–1902), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Richard Byrnes (1833–1864), American Civil War officer and commander of the Irish Brigade – 1st, Section 3, range 23, plot W, grave 5/8
- Dennis Conlan (1838–1870), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- William C. Connor (1832–1912), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Michael Corcoran (1827–1863), American Civil War officer and commander of the 69th New York Irish Volunteers – 1st, Section 4, range 5, plot 0, grave 13/16
- Thomas E. Corcoran (1838–1904), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- William J. Creelman (1874–1928), Peacetime Medal of Honor recipient
- Cornelius Cronin (1838–1912), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Michael Doheny (1805-1863), Irish barrister, Young Irelander rebel leader, Fenian organizer and writer - 1st.
- John Donnelly (1839–1895), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Patrick H. Doody (1840–1924), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- George W. Ford (1844–1883), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Patrick Ginley (1822–1917), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Francis J. Herron (1837–1902), American Civil War general and Medal of Honor recipient – 1st, Section 10, plot 208, grave 1/16
- Patrick Kelly (d. 1864), American Civil War officer and commander of the Irish Brigade – 1st, Section 4, range 5, plot H, grave 14/16
- Samuel W. Kinnaird (1843–1923), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Franz Kramer (1865–1924), Spanish–American War Medal of Honor recipient
- William McNamara (1835–1912), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient
- James H. Morgan (1840–1877), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Charles J. Murphy (1832–1921), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- John McLeod Murphy (1827–1871), American Civil War Army and Navy officer, and State Senator
- Thomas P. Noonan, Jr. (1943–1969) Vietnam War Medal of Honor recipient
- John Francis O'Sullivan (1850–1907), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient
- James Quinlan (1833–1906), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Eliakim P. Scammon (1816–1894), American Civil War brigadier general – 1st, Section 7, unmarked
- Robert Augustus Sweeney (1853–1890), two-time Medal of Honor recipient
- Henry A. Thompson (1841–1889), American Civil War Medal of Honor recipient
- Hermann Ziegner (1864–1898), American Indian Wars Medal of Honor recipient
Organized crime figures
- Vito Bonventre (1875–1930), mobster
- Anthony Carfano (1898–1959), mobster aka "Little Augie Pisano"
- John "Johnny" Dolan (c. 1850–1876), executed for the murder of merchant James H. Noe; described (possibly inaccurately) as "Dandy" Johnny Dolan and the head of the Whyos street gang by Herbert Asbury in his book The Gangs of New York
- Natale "Joe Diamond" Evola (1907–1973)
- Stefano "Steve" Ferrigno (1900–1930)
- Joseph Lanza (1904–1968), racketeer; mobster
- Thomas Lucchese (1899–1967), mobster
- Ignatius "Lupo the Wolf" Lupo (1877–1947)
- Joe Masseria (1879–1931) – 1st Calvary Sec 49, Plot 138, Grave 1–16
- Peter "Giuseppe" Morello (also known as the Clutch Hand) (1870–1930), the first head of the Morello crime family; now lies in a bare, forgotten grave
- Dominick "Sonny Black" Napolitano (1930–1981), mobster
- Bonaventura "Joseph" Pinzolo (1887–1930)
- Benjamin "Lefty" Ruggiero (1926–1994)
- Paul Kelly (criminal) (1876–1936), mobster – Section 36, Range 5, Plot G, Grave 20
- Michael "Mickey" Spillane (1934–1977), mobster
- Ciro "the Artichoke King" Terranova (1888–1938) – Section 35
- Nicolo Terranova (1890–1916) – Section 35
- Vincenzo "Vincent" Terranova (1886–1922) – Section 35
- Lawrence V. Cullen, J.D., USMC (1948–2012), Justice New York State Court of Claims (appointed by Gov. George Pataki), elected New York State Supreme Court, 11th Judicial District - 1st (Old Calvary - St. Callixtus), Section 45, Plot 275, Grave 21
- Carmine DeSapio (1908–2004), last head of the Tammany Hall political machine – 3rd, Section 27, plot 42
- Daniel Direnzo (1886–1933), Assistant District Attorney of New York City, Head of Court of Special Sessions
- Thomas J. Dunn (1849–1905), Sheriff of New York County (1897–99)
- John Fox (1835–1914), U.S. Representative from New York and member of the New York City Council
- Patrick Jerome "Battle-Axe" Gleason (1844–1901) last mayor of Long Island City
- Hugh J. Grant (1857–1910), mayor of New York City
- Martin J. Kennedy (1892–1955) U.S. Representative in Congress (1930–1945) and New York State Senator (1924–1930)
- Thomas A. Ledwith, (1840–1898) New York State Assemblyman and State Senator, Section 6, Vault site 29
- Charles Francis Murphy (1858–1924), head of New York City's Tammany Hall
- George Washington Plunkitt (1842–1924), Tammany Hall politician – 1st, Section 5, unmarked
- Alfred E. Smith (1873–1944), Governor of New York State and 1928 U.S. Presidential candidate – 1st, Section 45, plots 3–4
- Timothy Sullivan (1862–1913), U.S. Representative in Congress (1903–1906; 1912), long-term member of New York State Legislature and sponsor of the Sullivan Act which sought to curtail illegal gun possession
- Robert Ferdinand Wagner (1877–1953), U.S. Senator from New York State – 1st, Section 45, plot 79
- Robert F. Wagner, Jr. (1910–1991), Mayor of New York City – 1st, Section 45, plot 79
- Robert Wagner III (1944–1993), president of the New York City Board of Education, son of Mayor Robert Wagner, Jr., and grandson of Senator Robert Wagner
- Willie Keeler (1872–1923), Hall of Fame baseball player – 1st, Section 1W, range 15, plot B, grave 5
- Jim Shanley (1854–1904), baseball player
- Martin Sheridan (1881–1918), four-time Olympic gold medalist in the discus and shot put
- Mickey Welch (1859–1941), Hall of Fame baseball player – 1st, Section 4, range 17, plot S, grave 6
- Mary Letitia Martin (1815–1850), heiress, novelist
- Claude McKay (1890–1948), poet, journalist, novelist – 2nd, Section 42, range 14, plot R, grave 5
- James W. Blake (1862–1935), part-time song lyricist who wrote the words to The Sidewalks of New York
- Steve Brodie (1863–1901), Brooklyn bookmaker, claimed to survive Brooklyn Bridge jump – 1st, Section 9, plot 443, grave 13/16
- William R. Cosentini (1911-1954), mechanical engineer and founder of Cosentini Associates- Section 1W, plot 17, grave 1
- Luigi Fugazy (1837–1930), Italian American banker and businessman
- Julia Grant (1873–1944), philanthropist
- Philip Martiny (1858-1927), sculptor
- Edward McGlynn (1837–1900), reformist Catholic priest
- Adolfo Müller-Ury (1862–1947), portrait artist
- Sarah Rabassa (1928–2006), worked in belt factories for 20 cents an hour, in the garment center of New York
- Annie Moore Schayer (1874–1924), first person to be processed through Ellis Island – 3rd, Section 20, range 3, plot F, grave 13
- Eugenie Baclini (1909-1912), second R.M.S. Titanic survivor to die after the sinking - Section 39, Range 24, Plot D14 in a solitary, unmarked grave
- S. Joseph Barry, (1933-2019), Professor Emeritus of Audiology and Speech, Section 1W
- "The New York Moon - Three Million Dead in Queens". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- "Calvary Cemetery Pictures, Queens County, New York". Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- "The Cemetery Belt", Newsday article by Rhona Amon. (Original URL broken, but mirrored at Juniper Park Civic Association)
- The journal of the American Irish Historical Society, Volume 7 (1907)
- "Popular Mechanics". 1909. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
- "Calvary Monument". New York City Department of Parks.
- "MRS. SULLIVAN'S FUNERAL; Ex-Head of Policewomen's Unit Mourned by Members of Force". The New York Times. September 15, 1950. p. 25. Retrieved June 27, 2020.
- Dash, Mike (2009). The First Family: Terror, Extortion and the Birth of the American Mafia. London: Simon & Schuster. p. Epilogue, page 27. ISBN 978-1-84737-173-7.
- Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company. p. 67. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved 27 November 2016.
- Media related to Calvary Cemetery (Queens) at Wikimedia Commons
- Official website
- Calvary Cemetery at Find a Grave
- "Calvary Cemetery". Interment. Burial records (partial).
- Atiya, Alexandra (Feb 2008). "Three Million Dead in Queens, A short history of Calvary Cemetery". New York Moon.