New Yorkers are notoriously intense when it comes to apartments. The struggle to stake out a decent living space is one of the main thrusts of city life, in a town as densely packed as ours. It’s also a primary thrust of death — apparently tombs and mausoleums are subject to the same astronomical prices and cutthroat competition as New York City housing and real estate. In other words, dying in New York is just as crazy as living in New York.
Apparently there are tons of empty mausoleums, available to those who are willing to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars for a place to store their decaying remains.
In New York, where so much of daily life seems to revolve around real estate, it stands to reason that big-money prices and maxims like “location, location, location” figure in death as well. Mausoleums change hands just like two-bedroom co-ops or six-story walk-ups. And with cemeteries running short on space, cemetery officials have been known to call descendants who own long-empty gravesites or mausoleums, and suggest a sale.
Macabre as it might seem to buy someone else’s tomb, people are doing it, and spending upwards of $750,000 for it. Chump change, I guess, when you’ll be installed there for eternity!
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on July 31, 2011