Calvary Cemetery Walking Tour

image courtesy Mitch Waxman
27262063 seeable

Taught by Mitch Waxman

Mitch Waxman was raised in Brooklyn, attended the School of Visual Arts in Manhattan, and worked for many years as a comic book writer and artist. He also worked in advertising production and as a photo retouching specialist for several advertising agencies. He has always had a certain fascination with historical material.

After a health scare several years ago, medical personnel advised him that he should start running to improve his health. Having grown up, as aforementioned, in Brooklyn – Mitch cannot run unless something is chasing him so he began to walk the earth and brought the camera along to keep things interesting. Soon, he found the occluded reality of the Newtown Creek and hasn’t left the place since.

Mitch started the Newtown Pentacle website in 2009 to document his adventures along the Newtown Creek(and in the greater harbor and city beyond). He has served the City of New York as a Parade Marshall three times, has been named the Newtown Creek Alliance’s group historian, is a Steering Committee member of the Working Harbor Committee, and offers regular walking, bus and boat tours of the Newtown Creek Watershed. He resides in Astoria, Queens, with his wife Catherine and their little dog.

His photography and unique point of view have attracted no small amount of attention, and Mitch has appeared in several documentaries about the Creek and is often quoted in news articles about the subject. A book collecting his photos and discoveries- Newtown Creek for the Vulgarly Curiousis available for order at, and a second book will be published soon.

Photo credit: Steve McCann

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Join Newtown Creek Alliance Historian Mitch Waxman for a walk amongst the 300 year-old headstones of the colonial-era Alsop cemetery, in the neighborhood that was once known as Laurel Hill, Queens.

Calvary Cemetery, founded in 1848 by Roman Catholic Archbishop "Dagger" John Hughes, sits atop what was once the Alsop Farm in Newtown's Blissville. First Calvary is the final resting place of senators, governors, businessmen, mafiosos, even an heir to the throne of Ireland. See the memorial to NYC's Civil War soldiers erected by Tammany Hall, and one dedicated to the "fighting 69th".

The walk will range throughout rolling hills of the cemetery. Its expanse of open space is a jewel of green infrastructure nestled in the midst of Newtown Creek's industrial zone. In addition to its original purpose, Calvary also serves the City of New York by soaking up billions of gallons of water during storms.

The views from Calvary Cemetery are iconic, with the Manhattan and LIC skylines framing the scene, so bring a camera. We will be walking across a natural surface of grass and soil, so if your mobility is limited, this might not be the tour for you.

Meetup at the north east corner of Greenpoint and Review Avenues. Map: nearby the Greenpoint Avenue Bridge in Blissville. We will be exiting the Cemetery through the main gates at Greenpoint and Gale Avenue, nearby Borden Avenue and the Long Island Expressway. 

Dress and pack appropriately for hiking and the weather. Closed-toe shoes are highly recommended. Bathroom opportunities will be found only at the end of the walk. We will be outside until the very end of the tour, which will run about two hours.

Cancellation policy