A rare piece of real estate hidden in plain sight underneath a New York City church was put on the market for $7 million

New York City catacombs

Hannah SchafferCatacombs in New York City might not look like those in Paris – but they have an interesting story.
  • A New York City church is selling the last remaining crypt in its catacombs for $7 million.
  • These catacombs – beneath the 200-year-old Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral – were previously off-limits, but the church recently began public tours in 2017.
  • The crypt available inside is one of the only remaining full-body, in-ground burial plots in Manhattan.

One lucky family can now opt to live in Manhattan for eternity – for a price of $7 million.

The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, a Catholic church in downtown New York City, recently put a unique piece of real estate on the market. The church is looking to sell the last remaining crypt – a sealed burial chamber – in its 200-year-old catacombs for six to seven million dollars. The crypt is estimated to fit six to nine coffins.

It’s a rare opportunity – not only is this the last remaining crypt in the church’s catacombs, but it’s also one of the only remaining full-body burial plots left on the island of Manhattan.

In-ground burials south of 86th street were outlawed in 1852 when then-overflowing graveyards in New York City led many to believe the decaying bodies were causing outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera.

New york city catacombs cryptHannah SchafferThe catacombs underwent renovations in 2013, and the last space available is ready for purchase and completion.

Today there is only one active cemetery in Manhattan: the incredibly exclusive Trinity Church Cemetery and Mausoleum on 155th street. Marble Cemetery in the East Village also has two remaining mausoleumson sale for $350,000 each.

Even if you’re not shopping for a burial plot, you can take a look inside the catacombs. St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral catacombs were previously off limits to the public, but opened for tours in 2017. The tour costs $35 a person, and is offered three times a day, seven days a week for the foreseeable future.

new york city catacombs entrance.JPGHannah SchafferThe entrance to the catacombs are in the basement of the church, where the original walls of the catacombs can be seen.

At over 200 years old, St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral has seen its surrounding neighborhood change from the Five Points – the neighborhood notably depicted in Martin Scorsese’s “Gangs of New York” – and the famous Little Italy, into one of the most expensive neighborhoods in Manhattan.

Construction began on the church in 1809, and it was once the seat of the Archdiocese, before the larger St. Patrick’s Cathedral was built uptown.

new york city catacombs delmonico vaultHannah SchafferBuried inside is the Delmonico family.

Buried inside the Cathedral’s catacombs include figures integral to the Catholic church, and to US and New York City history – including the Delmonico family, of Delmonico steak fame who launched the New York City fine dining scene.

John Kelly, a New York representative and boss of Tammany Hall – the infamous political group of New York City known for its corruption in the 18th, 19th, and early 20th centuries – was laid to rest there as well.

new york city catacombs eckertHannah SchafferThomas Eckert – who handled the telegraph office for Abraham Lincoln and was later appointed Assistant Secretary of War – has one of the largest vaults.

Buried in one of the larger vaults that visitors can enter is Thomas Eckert, Chief of the Telegraph Office and Assistant Secretary of War to Abraham Lincoln.

Martin Scorsese is a benefactor of the church’s organ, and the baptism scene in the “The Godfather” was also filmed inside.

Anyone wishing to join the list of historical figures who have dedicated their time and money to the parish can submit interest in the remaining crypt – as long as you are Catholic and have about $7 million to spare.