Posts Tagged ‘Cemetery of St. Paul’s Chapel’

The wisdom of the dead in Manhattan graveyards

January 7, 2010

Alexander Hamilton, Robert Fulton, and dozens of ordinary 18th- and 19th-century New Yorkers sleep for eternity in the cemetery behind Trinity Church, at Broadway and Wall Street. And a few blocks up Broadway, off Fulton Street, more early residents are buried in the graveyard of St. Paul’s Chapel.

Both are peaceful yet unsettling places; Trinity’s cemetery is older than the current church building itself.┬áThe jagged, weathered headstones mark the graves of men and women, Revolutionary War soldiers and seamen, and lots of young kids. It’s hard to read most of the headstones because the elements have erased the names and dates.

But many are legible. And to remind visitors of their own mortality, several of the headstones feature this eerie address:

“Behold and See as you Pass By
As You are Now so Once was I
As I am Now you Soon will Be
Prepare for Death and Follow Me”