Sales & Deals

Can’t afford a brand new gravesite? There’s a secondhand grave market!

cypress hills cemetery
Hey, maybe you’ll make it here after all. via Facebook

So you were all set to make sure that one day you were going to be a New York City resident…forever. Then you read our investigation on how much it costs to get buried in Brooklyn and you figured you’d just try to dig a shallow grave in a construction site instead. But wait! Turns out that in true NYC thrift fashion, you can buy a secondhand grave. Some of them are only slightly used!

City Lab took a look at the practice of people who sell their used or unused graves on a secondary market, using either grave brokers or just selling them on their own on Craigslist. So yeah, if you once came across a listing for a burial space at Cypress Hills and thought it was a joke, well, turns out it was totally real. Unlike the brand new burial options that would run you between $1,800 and $34,500, City Lab found graves that were going for between $1,500 and $11,000.

Don’t worry about disturbing the dead though, it turns out the sales are mostly from people who had made plans to die here and then wound up moving to different places. Well OK, so the story opens with a guy who sold off a family burial plot that had one in-use grave and two empty ones, but it’s not as if there are unscrupulous people going around and digging up bodies before stapling up “4 SALE! USED GRAVE CHEEP!” signs on telephone poles. That being said, New York state’s top cemetery regulator told City Lab that a sale like this has to be approved by the cemetery and that they don’t have to give you the deed to the grave if they’re unaware of the sale, so if you decide to start using Craigslist as a Beacon’s Closet of death, make sure you deal with someone trustworthy.

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