For sale: You’ll love this family-friendly, long-term Manhattan residence, in a prime Soho location, with neighbors as quiet as the grave.
Housing up to six people, the $7 million price tag may seem steep but considering the rare opportunity to spend the rest of eternity in Manhattan, and that this is the first time space has opened up in this location since the early 20th century, it’s a once in a lifetime offer.
And to put the final nail in the coffin of the deal, you’ll be living it up with the likes of Tammany Hall leader and congressman from New York John Kelly, and John Connolly, the first bishop of New York.
The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in SoHo is opening its 200-year-old underground crypt, hidden beneath the floorboards of the Mulberry Street church, to the public for the first time.
The only Catholic burial ground in Manhattan is one of of the few places left on the island where you can be buried. If you have a bit of spare cash a vault for six-people has come on the market.
“We thought it would be better served if a Catholic family who wanted to be buried in New York had a place to go,” crypt keeper Frank Alfieri, director of the basilica’s cemetery and columbaria, told the New York Post.
The person who acquires this final resting spot is set to be “buried with the people who set the Catholic faith in motion in New York,” Alfieri continued, including Bishop Connolly, who was buried in the basilica in 1825.
As well as New York’s Catholic elite, the catacombs are home to the remains of General Thomas Eckert, an adviser to Abraham Lincoln. Lincoln wrote his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation in Eckert's office.
With burials dating back to the 1700s it comes as no surprise that several of the tombs are artifacts in their own right, with Eckert’s tomb sporting original Edison light bulbs and tiles akin to those used in Grand Central Station further uptown.
“A lot of people don’t realize what is just below their feet,” Alfieri said of the incredible history associated with the Mulberry St. site.
There have also been some recent arrivals, however. Monsignor Nicola Marinacci was last to be laid to rest in the catacombs in 2014.
The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral can be found at the corner of Mott and Prince streets and is the original cathedral of the Archdiocese of New York. At the time the cathedral was built the neighborhood was flooded with Catholic Irish immigrants. It was the just the second Catholic church in Manhattan and the third in New York State.
Designed by the same architect who designed New York City Hall, Joseph Francois Mangin, when it was completed in 1815 the church also stood as the largest Catholic church in the whole United States.
When the church went under its final expansion to its present size in 1824, prayers in the Irish language were offered by Rev. Michael O’Gorman and each year the parish remembers its Irish heritage by commemorating St. Patrick’s Day with an Irish-language Mass on a Saturday in March.
The seat of the Archdiocese was eventually moved to the “new” St. Patrick’s cathedral on Fifth Avenue on May 25, 1879, although the old cathedral’s retained its place in the Irish community remained for some time thereafter. More than 25,000 people took to the streets around the cathedral in 1913 for the funeral of famed Tammany Hall politician “Big Tim” Sullivan.
The money raised through the newly opened vault will be used to renovate Old St Pat's, in particular the 150-year-old organ.
"The urban organ itself needed funds to be restored, and it's $1 million to restore it," Alfieri told ABC7NY.
"What we're looking for is, in this individual or family, is to support the efforts here of reviving, restoring the urban organ. And more importantly, provide that family with the opportunity of a once-in-a-lifetime chance of being interred underneath the old cathedral."
The family will also receive naming rights for the organ. There are also cremation options available to those with on a much tighter budget starting from $10,000.
As well as their annual Irish language mass, the church also keeps the community involved through cinema time in the courtyard, a running club, and allowing sheep to vacation in the courtyard!