Niblo Mausoleum


Lions are, as everyone knows, ferocious beasts. The one guarding the Gothic Revival Niblo mausoleum seems to be toothless and rather forlorn. The Niblo mausoleum, comfortably nestled into the hillside and overlooking a small pond along Dale Avenue, is the picture of serenity and peace, but its history is anything but serene.

William “Billy” Niblo (1789-1878) took full advantage of his cemetery plot and liberally interpreted the idea that cemeteries were for the living. He hosted elaborate parties on the grounds in front of his mausoleum. These parties were an extension of his famous restaurant and theater complex on lower Broadway known as “Niblo’s Garden”. The Garden became well known as the site for plays he staged, featuring risque extravaganzas with bare legged dancers. One of his productions included three hundred babies marching and crawling across a stage. Perhaps the lion is a refugee from one of Niblo’s productions and that is why he looks so tired.
Text and photo © Douglas Keister Visit Doug’s Author Page

[address cemetery=”Green-Wood Cemetery” street=”Willow Avenue” city=”Brooklyn” state=”New York” zip=”11218″]

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