If you live in Queens then you know all about the many cemeteries that dot the map. But, did you know why the “World’s Borough” houses so many dead?
In 1847 there was a shortage of burial grounds in Manhattan, so the New York State Legislature passed the Rural Cemetery Act, allowing nonprofit corporations to create and operate commercial cemeteries. Since Queens is so large, this opened the door to an influx of cemeteries being built here.
Most people only visit cemeteries to visit loved ones who have died. However, Spinlister, the world’s largest peer-to-peer action sports rental company, provides a different reason to visit these cities of the dead: a cycling tour.
Spinlister has mapped out a bike route that will take cyclists from Manhattan, through Brooklyn and across Queens, passing five of the borough’s cemeteries in their “Beyond Calvary Cemetery: A Queens Cemetery Cycling Tour.”
“We love Queens,” said Andrew Batey, chief marketing officer at Spinlister. “Instead of trying to take one or two bike routes in Queens and fold it into a larger New York City Guide, we’re actually creating a unique guide with bike routes for Queens, Brooklyn and Manhattan. Each will have its own standalone guide with routes.”
The 9.1-mile tour begins in Manhattan, at the Williamsburg Bridge bike path west, and takes riders across the Williamsburg Bridge into Brooklyn. From there, cyclists travel through Brooklyn, making their way to the first stop on the tour, First Calvary Cemetery on the border of Maspeth and Woodside.
There are more than 3 million people buried at this multi-sectioned cemetery, including a plethora of famous athletes, military leaders, organized crime members and entertainers. The second stop on the tour is another part of the same cemetery, New Calvary Cemetery.
Maspeth makes another appearance on the tour with the third stop, Mount Zion Cemetery.
Mount Zion had its first burial in 1893 and has been servicing the burial needs of the Jewish community ever since. The cemetery features the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Memorial, remembering the 146 victims of the fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in 1911.
The next stop on the cemetery tour is Mount Olivet Cemetery, which has been in use for 166 years. It was originally designed as a “Garden Cemetery,” as it has many winding paths and beautiful trees, making it a perfect place to ride a bike. The cemetery is distinguished by the amazing view of Manhattan visitors can get standing 165 feet above sea level.
The final stop on the tour is Middle Village’s Lutheran All Faiths Cemetery. This burial ground is situated on 225 acres of land, containing 19 miles of roadways, giving cyclists the ability to ride to their hearts’ content. A cemetery spokesperson, however, told QNS bikes are not permitted on the grounds.
Spinlister is a website and mobile app that allows cyclists to rent out their equipment to other interested riders at an agreed upon fee. Users then browse the available listings and pick a renter, meet up and rent the bike. Every bike listed is guaranteed up to $10,000 against theft or damage, according to Spinlister’s website.