THE BEST GREEN CEMETERIES IN NEW YORK
By Amy Cunningham
Some people think cremation is "greener" than burial because cremation generally requires no cemetery space. Actually, when you are speaking of one of the green conservation cemeteries within three hours of New York City or upstate, you can be protecting rural property by burying yourself in it. Cemetery laws prohibit highways or shopping malls from coming to land that has deceased people in it, so in using a green cemetery, you are helping to keep gorgeously-wooded, rural properties safe from development. (It may take a moment to bend your mind around this concept.) You can also be buried in a shroud (without a casket) in a green cemetery, something most conventional cemeteries don't yet allow. No herbicides are used on the grass, as a rule, and the setting of a registered green burial ground is kept much as it was found: wild, natural, frequented by birds, squirrels, and deer.
Folks who bury a family member in a green cemetery are sad a death has occurred, but elated by their participation in an end-of-life ritual that signals a return to the simpler burial practices of 200 years ago. Grave prep is more natural and aesthetically pleasing: no phony Astroturf covers the displaced soil, and evergreen boughs are available to help decorate or fill. Cemetery workers go out of their way to let family members lower the casket and shovel soil if that is their desire. You'll also never see a grave-worker look harried or check his wristwatch at a green ground. The space is yours and you'll be given ample graveside time. Some of my closest friends still exclaim, "Oh God, just cremate me." But for those who love nature, history, and old-fashioned ritual, and for those whose custom has always been simple and green (Jews, Muslims among others), it's a no brainer: Green burial in a natural burial ground--without an embalming, metal casket or vault--is a gracious, gorgeous, uplifting way to "go."
Here is my most complete accounting of every green cemetery and every hybrid ground attached to a conventional cemetery in or near NY state. There are shades of green at play here (two asterisks ** denote a completed registration with The Green Burial Council), but all plots listed here are priced well below the remaining graves in New York City. Some of these cemeteries are a little far afield, but I include them because they may make sense to New York families connected to those necks of the woods.
**ASCENSION GARDEN (St. Francis Meadow)
Address: 1900 Pinnacle Road, Henrietta, NY 14467
Phone: (585) 697 – 1122
St. Francis Meadow. Catholic Natural Burial Ground. Single plot is $1,800, opening fee of $700. Cremation plot is $1,000, opening fee of $400 with a Funeral Director’s presence and $550 without. Both plot types include a natural stone which they harvest directly from the land while excavating, and engrave onsite. $50 fee for services held in the chapel.
CALVARY CEMETERY (St. Michael’s Meadow)
Address: 481 Route 9W, Glenmont, NY 12077
Phone: (518) 463 – 0134
Catholic Hybrid Cemetery. Single plot is $2,000 with an $825 opening fee. Cremation plot (holds 2 urns) is $800 with an opening fee of $495 per urn. $75 surcharge added for Saturday services. Biodegradable pine and willow caskets accepted.
FRIENDS OF RHINEBECK CEMETERY
Address: 3 Mill Road, Rhinebeck, NY 12572
Phone: (845) 876 - 3961
Single plot is $1300 and $900 to open. Plot for cremains $450 and $650 to open.
FULTONVILLE NATURAL BURIAL GROUND
Address: 26 Mohawk Street, Fultonville, NY 12072 Phone: (518) 853 – 8838
Website: https://www.facebook.com/fultonvillecemetery Single plot $500 for residents, $700 for non-residents
GREEN MEADOW CEMETERY
Address: 1121 Graham Street, Fountain Hill, PA, 18015 Phone: (610) 868 – 4840
Single plot for $1,300; open fee is $700, plus $500 for perpetual care
**GREENSPRINGS NATURAL CEMETERY
Address: 293 Irish Hill Road, Newfield, NY 14867
Phone: (607) 564 - 7577
Standard plot for $1,000; cremains plot for $350 and infant grave is $300. Opening fee for standard burial $1,000. Opening fee for cremains burial $225. Stone installation is $100.
HARLEMVILLE RURAL CEMETERY
Caretakers’ Phone Numbers: Jonitha Hasse at (518) 325 – 7454 Cecelia Elinson (518) 672 - 7447
Hudson hybrid green ground attached to conventional country cemetery, price very reasonably (please call).
**HOLY SEPULCHRE CEMETERY (Trinity Section)
Address: 2461 Lake Avenue, Rochester, NY 14612 Phone: (585) 458 – 4110
$1800 for a single plot, $650 to open the plot
Address: 25 Seminary Road, Mahwah, NJ 07430
Phone: (201) 327- 7011
Website: https://www.rcancem.org/catholic-green-burial/ Single grave is $1,600, double grave is $3,000. Opening fee is $2,150. This is a Catholic cemetery. The purchaser should be a Catholic (but no one will “card” you), and the decedent need not be Catholic.
MOST HOLY REDEEMER CEMETERY
Address: 2501 Troy Schenectady Road, Schenectady, NY Phone: (518) 374 – 5319
Website: https://www.capitaldistrictcemeteries.org/ Single grave is $2,000, with an opening fee of $825. Note: Next of kin must be related to a Catholic.
**MT. HOPE CEMETERY’S GARDEN OF RENEWAL
Address: 1133 Mt. Hope Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620 Phone: (585) 428 - 7999
Website: http://www.cityofrochester.gov/mounthope/ Single grave is $3,300 with an $800 open fee, plus $400 maintenance.
Address: 50 101st Street, Troy, NY 12180
Phone: (518) 272 – 7520
Historic Hybrid Cemetery. Single plot is $800 with opening fees of $700 for a weekday, $775 for Saturday AM and $850 for Saturday PM. Cremation plot (2 urns) is $800 with opening fees of $300 for a weekday, $350 for Saturday AM and $380 for Saturday PM. Foundation fee of $235+ depending on size & details of stone.
ROSEMONT NATURAL BURIAL AREA
Address: 100 Kingwood Stockton Road, Rosemont, NJ 08556 Phone: (609) 488 – 6959
Single plot is $1,750 with an opening fee of $1,850. Cremation plot is $500 with an opening fee of $525. Additional fees apply for weekend burials.
ROSENDALE PLAINS CEMETERY
Address: P.O. Box 85, 793 Springtown Road, Tillson, NY 12486 Phone: (845) 658 – 9042
Single graves $800, opening fee for burial $800, required flat grave marker usually costs about $350. Plots available for cremated remains also. Scattering garden in development.
**SLEEPY HOLLOW CEMETERY
Address: Sleepy Hollow, NY 10591
Phone: (914) 631 – 0081
Historic cemetery with hybrid green burial ground by side of cemetery road, shrouds accepted, cremains accepted. Single grave is $4,000. Opening fee for grave $1,830. Cremation grave (fits two urns) $3,000. Opening fee for cremated remains
$555. Foundation charges for stones apply ranging from $489 to $1,704.
Address: 613 N Sea Road, Southampton, NY 11968
Phone: Eric Wright, Superintendent at (631) 283 – 3212 Single grave is $1,350 (flat flush stone only), two graves is $3,200 (small upright stones are okay), four graves is $6,400 (larger upright family headstone allowed). Biodegradable pine and willow caskets accepted.
ST. PETER’S CEMETERY (Peaceful Meadows)
Address: 150 West Avenue, Saratoga Springs, NY 12866 Phone: (518) 584 – 2375
Catholic Hybrid Cemetery. Single plot & cremation plots are $775 each and $775 to open. They supply stone marker if desired, and the stone comes from their Albany Cathedral; engraving is $150.
Address: 101 Steelmantown Road, Woodbine, NJ 08720 Phone: (609) 628 - 2297
Single or double plot is $2,000. Grave opening fee $1,500. Eight-member family plot $7,000. Opportunities for wooded burial or placement in old Quaker cemetery. One hundred- year-old casket cart meets hearse and family at the gate.
UNION CEMETERY AT MAYS LANDING
Address: 195 Route 50, Mays Landing, NJ 08330
Phone: (609) 625 – 7571
Adult interment $850, interment of cremains $275. One-time grave landscaping fee of $200.
**VALE CEMETERY (The Dell)
Address: 907 State Street, Schenectady, NY 12307
Phone: (518) 346 – 0423
Single plot is $600. One gravesite in the Urn Garden is $175, two gravesites is $325.
**WHITE HAVEN MEMORIAL PARK
Address: 210 Marsh Road, Pittsford, NY (near Rochester) Phone: (585) 586 – 5259
Has Jewish area, Islamic area, all-green hybrid ground. $2,150 for a single grave with a $675 open fee. Cremains in woods is $2,150, by water $2800 with an opening fee of $395.
Address: 20 Ellsworth Avenue, Danbury, CT, 06810
Phone: (203) 748 - 8529
Lovely historic grounds with green area priced lower than the conventional. $2,700 adult plot, $950 open fee (plus $285 fee added in the Winter to dig). Marker and foundation fees vary.