If you’re looking for some serious peace and quiet, Green-Wood Cemetery's 478 acres in Brooklyn certainly fits the bill. But it’s not a secret. More than 590,000 people visited Green-Wood in 2020, and that’s a record, as New Yorkers sought out open space during the pandemic.
The more than 180-year-old cemetery has always been a place for visitors, not only those coming to see loved ones buried there, but others for the many famous “permanent residents” interred there and its history as a site of the Revolutionary War’s Battle of Long Island.
This past year, natural beauty and serenity were a big attraction. There are around 8,000 trees of all types at Green-Wood.
Charged with taking care of the trees are Joe Charap, Sara Evans and their horticulture crew at what was one of the first rural cemeteries in America.
"We're sort of this neighborhood world class arboretum that's free to the public, accessed seven days a week, a world class tree collection in the heart of Brooklyn,” said Charap, who is Green-Wood’s director of Horticulture.
"For the trees and the garden beds, we have seven crew members. Four of them work predominately with the larger tree specimens, and the other three work primarily with the younger threes and the gardens,” said Evans, manager of Horticulture Operations and Projects at Green-Wood.
Four-hundred new trees were planted here last year with the strategy to plant a diverse array to avoid a catastrophic loss to the collection. That collection is always under threat from intense storms and the changing climate, which can bring new insects and diseases from places with traditionally warmer climates.
Charap says their job is to preserve the landscape of this national historic landmark by making it more resilient, protecting it from whatever Mother Nature has in store.