By the 19th century, church graveyards had a worse reputation than you might expect. In addition to their general doom and gloom, they were rife with body snatching, gambling, and prostitution. Add to that the fact that they were literally overflowing, sending decaying matter into water supplies and causing deadly epidemics, and you’ve got a real problem on your hands.
The architect Sir Islington Wren had introduced the idea of a garden-like cemetery on the edge of town as early as 1711, but it wasn’t until the 19th century that rural cemeteries caught on. When they did though, everything about death changed.
Life in modern-day NYC sure ain’t what it used to be—and thank god for that, because living here used to be downright hellish. From its…