WASHINGTON CEMETERY, Borough Park — Midwood

by Kevin Walsh

While Green-Wood and perhaps Evergreens get all the Brooklyn cemetery publicity, there’s another one smack in the center of the borough that’s fairly unnoticed, except if you are looking out the window of the F train en route to Coney Island or toward Manhattan. Washington Cemetery has been in Kings County since the mid-1850s, and while it has a primarily Jewish clientele today, that wasn’t always the case; cemetery founder James Arlington Bennett is interred within. He was also an educator and ran for Vice-President in 1840 on a ticket with Joseph Smith, author of the Book of Mormon and founder of the Church of Latter-Day Saints.

The cemetery is divided into five separate numbered cemeteries divided by 20th and 21st Avenue, Bay Parkway, McDonald Avenue and Ocean Parkway. Cemetery #1 is east of McDonald Avenue and #2-5 are between McDonald and 19th Avenue. The main entrance is on Bay Parkway near McDonald Avenue.

You won’t find a lot of big names here, but Jerry Sterner (1938-2001), author of the play “Other People’s Money” is here; his headstone readsĀ “Finally, a plot.”




Bill Tweeddale May 21, 2014 - 6:24 am

In the 50’s-60’s we used to hang out in the cemetery off of 20th Ave, doing what kids do. Parts of it were so densely packed with grave stones that it was like an obstacle course just getting there. I believe the cemetery scene from the movie The House On Carroll Street was filmed in Washington Cemetery, looking down from the Bay Parkway station of the “F” train.

Simon B. May 25, 2014 - 12:55 pm

I believe that a scene from “Brighton Beach Memoirs” was also shot there

Tom May 25, 2014 - 7:55 pm

My wife’s grandparents are buried at Washington Cemetery in a section originally associated with the city of Bobruisk in what is now Belarus. It appears the society was no longer active and whoever ran it sold off any remaining plots. Now wedged into the older graves are newer graves of Russian Jews.

Jack October 14, 2014 - 10:29 am

I once spoke to the manager of the cemetery who claimed that one of the earliest burials there was for a young girl that was “killed by a bear” on Ocean Parkway, I dont know the veracity of the story or if there was even an “Ocean Parkway” when this allegedly happened but thought I would share for what its worth.

Angelo Darden November 30, 2015 - 12:55 pm

The grandmother and infant oldest brother of the Marx Brother’s are buried within the cemetery.
Fanny Schoenberg ( 1821-1901), mother of Minnie Marx, matriarch of the Marx Brothers. And Manfred, ( Jan-Jul. 1886) who died as an infant.

Mont March 16, 2016 - 11:53 am

I love hanging by this cemetery. I have a little friend who’s buried here. I always say hi to him everytime I pass by. He was only 11 at the time of his demise. Friends Field is another remarkable place to just hangout and relax, at night. I used to take school trips there all the time. I also like hanging out by Gravesend Cemetery. The city is just so mundane. Finding these little forgotten gems, with respect of course, is very nice. Love this site! Keep up the great work.

ub March 5, 2017 - 1:06 pm

regards. what is friends field. part of this cem. or what? im man bx and now si boy. passed gravesend several times, very seldom open i guess. very approate name for a cem. s you said always respect. i look at this site quite often, history at your fingertips, plus cems are history books, more than any other venue, books, pics, etc.you cna actually walk through history/life. not only big ones suchas this in big cities, but out in the country, cems in front yrads, woods, etc and ones you just stumble upon out of no where on a walk.

Frank DeGennaro August 15, 2017 - 9:33 am

Does anybody know how I can find specific people in this huge cemetery? Is there an email address associated w Washington Cemetery? I am looking for two gangster named Abe Axler (1901- 1933) and Eddie Fletcher (1898- 1933). Thank you for any help you can provide.


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