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Quaker Cemetery, Prospect Park

- Peter - Monday, August 1st, 2005 : goo

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"...Near the park entrance at Prospect Park Southwest and 16th Street along Center Drive you will find a cemetery that was established by the Society of Friends before Prospect Park was built. The cemetery was originally loacted between 11th and 12th Avenue and 9th and 14th Streets, which were demapped in 1866; by agreement, the Society retained the southern two-fifths of the burial ground. Burials here date as far back as the 1820s. The park was simply built around the cemetery and no trace now remains of the cross streets that surrounded it.

Actor Montgomery Clift (1920-1966) is buried here. Clift, a great friend of Elizabeth Taylor, starred with her in A Place in The Sun (1951) and Suddenly Last Summer (1959). He was nominated for Best Actor for The Search (1948), Sun and From Here to Eternity (1953). Clift was plagued by alcoholism and health problems for much of his career, and died of a heart attack in 1966. Clift’s simple gravestone at Quaker Cemetery was purportedly designed by John Benson, who designed John F. Kennedy’s at Arlington National Cemetery. An Omaha native, Clift lived in a Manhattan brownstone in the years before his death.

You will find Friends Cemetery locked behind a gate as a rule, and it is inconspicuous in a wooded area off Center Drive. There are no ostentatious stones or tombs per Quaker custom... just headstones..." --from the "Secret Prospect Park" article on,_Brooklyn,_New_York

This article has been viewed 43603 times in the last 11 years

GGP: 1st Aug 2005 - 14:24 GMT

I love this shot, with its magical colorations. And I didn't know that about Monty Clift!

Peter: 1st Aug 2005 - 14:30 GMT

i was in p. park the other day, looking for the place and rather fortuitously happened upon a quaker who filled me in on the whereabouts and tons of backstory... yay !

kc: 4th Aug 2005 - 02:18 GMT

It's looking very pretty. I took a walking tour there once, but they wouldn't show the grave...alas. Don't know why I wanted to see it, but I did. I think Basquiat's in Greenwood, I like that too.

Barbara Wagoner: 9th Aug 2005 - 18:21 GMT

I have relatives buried here and wonder who would I contact to be able to enter the cemetary.

GGP: 9th Aug 2005 - 20:08 GMT

Barbara, you might start by contacting the Prospect Park Alliance. I would imagine someone there could hook you up with the appropriate parties.

GGP: 9th Aug 2005 - 20:09 GMT

Roger: 14th Sep 2005 - 02:15 GMT

If anyone knows of upcoming tours, I would be greatly interested.


John: 29th Sep 2005 - 14:52 GMT

To gain entrance to the Cemetary, I would actually contect the Friends before I would contact the park. As far as I know, the cemetary is controlled by the Friends.
From time to time they take volunteers to go and maintain the area and you don't have to be a member of the meeting to join them.

110 Schermerhorn Street
Brooklyn, NY, 11202

jamie: 18th Oct 2005 - 21:17 GMT

quaker oats! quaker oats!
flying kites and sailing boats
riding bikes a wearing coats
eating chips and loving goats

Peter: 19th Oct 2005 - 23:29 GMT

milk of goats! milk of goats!
milk of goats in my quaker oats!

jamie, i love your poetry. i hope you finally got something to eat when you were so bloody pissed!

Jamie: 21st Nov 2005 - 13:02 GMT

heh, just seen this for the first time. funnily enough, speaking of food. it's lunchtime and i'm off to bag me some

lynn from chicopee ma.: 22nd Jan 2006 - 04:46 GMT


Jamie: lmao

john higginsi wonder if the : 1st Apr 2006 - 03:46 GMT

iwonder if any of an old dutch family named drake are buried in this cemetery

ROBERT: 14th Jan 2007 - 07:33 GMT


Madeline: 1st Mar 2007 - 18:35 GMT

I'm going to try and find his grave this weekend. I'll let you know if I manage to find the Quaker cemetary.

Me: 5th May 2007 - 03:47 GMT

The cemetery in Prospect Park has been used for decades by devil worshipers.
When I was a kid, a few friends & I found dead chickens & voodoo dolls in this cemetery. We would watch from across the road as they would walk around with torches
I'm sure they still use this place for their worship
BTW -I have lived in this area for 40yrs - not like you yuppie scum invaders!

Peter: 7th May 2007 - 16:10 GMT

not so much "devil worshipers" as , id imagine...

Kelly: 8th Mar 2008 - 01:32 GMT

Did yall see the story about Brooklyn Geist on Curbed? apparently theres some all girl ghost hunting group that got EVP recordings from this cemetery, weird stuff.

ppg: 18th Apr 2008 - 02:41 GMT

You still can find dead chickens and santeria things in this area, just a bit further up the road, heading into the ravine.

Are new people still buried here? It's beautiful and peaceful, I'd love to become a Quaker to be buried there.

YoYo: 4th May 2008 - 05:12 GMT

I'll never forget coming upon this cemetery as a child with my brother. While exploring Prospect park we just happen to come across it. We were in awe. My brother and I tried to climb a fence to enter it when Lo and behold a man with a shotgun bolted out of I don't know where and ran after us. He scared the S*&t out of us. We never went near the cemetery again.

Brian Donahue: 25th Feb 2009 - 14:53 GMT

In the sixties we would climb into the cemetary and get high have sex then piss on the graves. A true story.

Non-yuppie scum, non-invading, returnin' brooklyn bum: 19th May 2009 - 14:20 GMT

I remember folk setting fishing line across the paths near the cemetery to deter off-roaders. Brutal and decidedly un-quaker behavior. As for Devil worshipers, I really don't think that they do much there these days. I'd love to check it out again. Pity they don't treat aboriginal grounds the same way, you know, build a park around 'em.

A Quaker, not from NY: 28th Mar 2010 - 18:17 GMT

Hmm, fishing line and shotguns are certainly not Quakerly.

It's amusing to me that some do their rituals in the graveyard while others ghost hunt there. Quakers don't believe in holy ground, nor are they superstitious, so both groups are off the mark. Just enjoy the place for what it is, not for what you think it should be.

And as far as pissing on the graves, if you want to be rebellious do so on the graves of a denomination that actually sees that as "defamation."

What I'm unsure about is what they privilege one family's need for secrecy as well as disallow photography there. Privilege and preciousness don't strike me as Quaker in value.

I was born in Methodist Hospital about 2 blocks from the park back in 1950: May 8, 2010 1:25AM EDT: 8th May 2010 - 05:27 GMT

I was in Prospect park today and took a few Infrared pictures of the Friends cemetary through the fence...

ingmar bueb: 13th May 2010 - 23:41 GMT

it is a shame that this cemetary is closed year around to non quakers.i walk by there nearly daily ,the only guy i see there from time to time is a quaker caretaker,noone else ever visits those is huge and the million citizen living around the park have to stay outside.the mega 7 feet fence plus barbed wire makes it rather look like a concentration camp.shame on the unchristian quakers who don't like to share and don't care about their nieghbors.

ingmar bueb: 13th May 2010 - 23:45 GMT

look at the old dutch cemetary at flatbush is always open in the daytime,in midst of a ghetto,nothing happens there.they could allow people at least in the daytime or on sunday or cooperate with the park or the police,there are many possibilities but those quaker asholes don't care.

Deb:10th August 2010: 11th Aug 2010 - 00:03 GMT

I have two infant Uncles buried in this cemetary, would love to know where?

AMY: 16th Aug 2010 - 18:22 GMT

LOL @ some of these comments. I have always lived in the area and have heard many stories of devil worshipping in Prospect Park. Friends and I would hang out on the park on weekends and drink. I would never go in the hills looking for devil worsippers like they did, but I have always wondered if it was true!

Niklas: 1st Nov 2010 - 18:09 GMT

does somone knows how to enter the cemetary , coming along from europe to put a rose on monty s grave ... does somone knows how to do ??? please

Anthony: 9th Nov 2010 - 20:03 GMT


i visited the cemetery during the summer from the outside only and said a prayer by the gate for Mr. Clift. Unfortunately that was as close as I could get. It's very sad that you are not able to go in and say a prayer or leave a flower.

Robert: 6th Jan 2011 - 02:41 GMT

You need to contact the NYQM Cemetery Committee at: 718-768-8298. They will call you back with a schedule of public visiting days. Mr Clifts family, as well as other families have requested privacy for their loved ones, and that must be honored. For people looking for loved ones who may be buried there, call the same number above and a member of the committee will get back to you. Make sure you have the complete name and dates of death, as well as proof that you are a relative.

Anthony: 21st Mar 2011 - 13:13 GMT

The people are not helpful.I called the Brooklyn Friends Meeting and they would not give any information about tour dates. Just asked questions about why I would want to tour the cemetery, do I have relatives buried there, etc. I'm sure there is no way to get into the cemetery to say a prayer. Sad really.

Anon.: 25th Mar 2011 - 21:26 GMT

you could just climb in. the fence isnt really very tall.

Kev: 29th Mar 2011 - 05:06 GMT

I climbed, or slipped through, that fence when i was a kid, about 1970

Joey B.: 11th Nov 2011 - 22:46 GMT

Very True about devil worshipers,saw them with my friends back in the 1970's NO JOKE

Carole hopper : 11th Feb 2012 - 15:25 GMT

I loved monty Clift I would love to vist the cemerty

anon ( 19th Feb 2012 - 02:41 GMT

all of you who have posted here need to getlives. you have far too much time on your hands

I found this an interesting read: 13th May 2012 - 04:38 GMT

I am Clift relative. My Grandfathers sister was married to Brooks Clift in the 1950's. Brooks stayed in touch with her after the divorced and she move to Winnipeg in Canada after marrying again. I had very little response from trying to arrange a memorial placement for Brooks in 1987. Since then I have not tried again. In 1993 my grandmother died who had always stayed in contact with Brooks and with whom Monty Hall had become a mutual friend between them. I always intended to honour her request to place a memorial for Brooks but always hit a dead end.

Marcia J.: 15th Aug 2012 - 19:33 GMT

In August of 1973, on an overcast, humid summer day, a friend and I took a walk in Prospect Park. I had heard Montgomery Clift was buried in a Quaker cemetery there. Somehow we found the cemetery and his grave. While we were exploring the cemetery, my friend and I separated and walked separately to explore. When I found Clift Montgomery's gravestone, I called to my friend that I had found it. Earlier, when we entered the cemetery I noticed about 5 or 6 dogs of all shapes and sizes way off in the distance well below the cemetery hill we were on. I had noticed they were getting closer. They looked like small dots at first; but, now, they were getting larger and larger quickly. They headed directly for the cemetery and I called to my friend who had no idea what I was talking about. I screamed for her to come to me so we could get out of the cemetery quickly. By then, the dogs were IN THE CEMETERY. We turned, arm-in-arm and tried to walk very peacefuly out of the cemetery when the medium-sized dog (probably the leader of the pack) jumped up on my back and bit my jacket by the neck. I screamed like I never screamed in my life and that is all I remember. I found myself sitting in the grounds keeper's shack, sipping on a small glass of scotch. I must have passed out from fear. He had a shotgun and said he shot and killed two starving dogs that month who were trying to dig up new graves. I will never forget that experience. I am a Park Slope resident now and I know how many dogs are abandoned in Prospect Park. They are hungry and run in packs. Now,almost 39 years later, I would think dogs like that wouldn't roam during the day, but I don't know.

gerri: 24th Sep 2012 - 03:12 GMT

I remember as a kid around 1962-63 going though a hole in the fence into the cemetery. It was kind of scary because it was overgrown and unkempt. I also remember seeing a steel door built into the side of a small hill that really scared all the friends I was with. I often wondered over the years if that was a forgotten cemetery. Glad to hear it being taken care of.

Ralph L Torres: Nov 3, 2012: 3rd Nov 2012 - 17:17 GMT

I was raised and lived on 3rd street in park slope and residing in California since 1982,and I've never known of any cemeteries in Prospect Park until recently.I feel like I missed out on something grand,especially having lots of fond memories in the park.Bless you Brooklyn.

Honey Boo-Boo: 15th Nov 2012 - 18:21 GMT


avon: 26th May 2015 - 03:49 GMT

There are about 500 Quakers in NYC, and I'm one of them. I'm in the Cemetery a few times a year. We have a few burials, a few workdays for the congregation and/or the Friends Schools in NYC to do upkeep, and a couple of Sunday School picnics and business meetings annually. On a few of those days, we give free mid-day half-hour tours to the public, focused on the history of the place and of some noteworthy locals who are buried there.
- The above comments are largely correct. I added details about the Cemetery to the Wikipedia article on Prospect Park in recent years. I also lived nearby in the 1980s, when Santeria worshipers with torches entered at night (around the time the US Supreme Court ruled that their sacrifice ceremonies were freedom of religion, not punishable as animal abuse), and kids often snuck in out of curiosity too. The steel door in the hillside opens to an empty crypt that was used to store bodies awaiting spring thaw for burial, back when hand shovels were no match for the frozen ground in midwinter. Anyway, there's nothing spectacular to see, and the fence is far more secure now. - Quakers have always witnessed publicly to the virtue of simplicity in life. The Clift family is buried in a group, and they (like many Quakers) avoid not only ostentation but also undue fuss over the remains of the dead. Not only do they request that we not treat Montgomery's grave like a tourist attraction, but our Cemetery has a rule against photography in which any stone is legible (even in our own 2008 historical video, - We're not secretive; in the 1980s-90s the City had Park Rangers who gave regularly scheduled tours to the public. But we're all just volunteers with busy lives; we just feel a duty to preserve the place (and indeed it's much more of a garden than it was in the late 20th century). If you come on a tour day, I may well see you there!

barbara: 16th Aug 2015 - 15:14 GMT

Shame on anylatives but r
one who would urinate on a grave I have relatives buried in a old cemetery on new lots ave in east new york

Anthony: 17th Aug 2015 - 14:46 GMT

Dear Avon, Thank you for your post concerning the cemetery. Now I understand it. I still come to the cemetery to say a prayer and leave flowers for Montgomery Clift under the gate with the hops someone will find them and place it on his grave.. I don't understand about the relatives' requests as they are all gone now with his sister Ethel being the last to pass on last year.

Sherri: 15th Sep 2015 - 15:24 GMT

I had Quaker ancestors that resided in Harlem and Brooklyn starting in the 16th Century - to include Courtelyou, Van Rensslaer, Van Dykes, Van Nest, Voorhees & Kenyon. During my family research I have been unable to find any mention of where my family members are buried. I assume they may be buried here at the Dutch cemetery on Flatbush Avenue. I have found 148 interments at Does this sound like this could be all graves? Any suggestions?

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