The Greenwood section of Brooklyn is one of the highest points in that borough. This means it is a good place to both (1) mount a military defense and (2) have a cemetery. George Washington's Continental Army did the former in 1776 while trying to defend Upper Manhattan; and the people of Brooklyn did the latter in 1838.
In the mid-1800s, Americans abandoned the idea of cemeteries as places of gloom and despair (check tombstones from the 1700s) and began to view them as places for families to joyfully connect to lost loved ones. This led to cemeteries being designed to resemble public parks, with pleasant walkways, trees, and ponds for visitors. It also led to families seemingly trying to out-do each other in showing their devotion to their lost ones, by building ever more ostentatious burial sights. Greenwood was certainly no exception to this, as it contains both beautiful views and several over-the-top burial sights. For those interested in nothing more than American sculpture of the 1800s, this can be a worthwhile visit.
Most people who visit a cemetery (without any loved one buried there), however, go to see the graves of famous people -- and Greenwood has its fair share. FindaGrave.com, for example, lists 356 "Somewhat Famous People" buried here.
A map showing the location of some of the most famous is available online, by writing the cemetery, or by stopping at the office during business hours (8-4, Mon-Sat).
You can also do an online search for the location of a specific person
If one turns left at the main entrance at Fifth Avenue and 25th Street, the lane is called "Battle Avenue," and it leads to a few markers noting the Battle of Brooklyn Heights -- another defeat for Washington -- in Section G.
The cemetery itself is open seven days a week from 8-5, with longer hours in the summer. Admission is free. The best way to get there, if you are visiting New York without a car, is to ride the D or N or R subways into Brooklyn, exit at the 36st Street Station, walk north on Fourth Avenue (the McDonalds at your back), and enter at about 35th Street. There is a public rest room near this entrance; possibly the only one in this large park.
Photography is permitted; but jogging, biking, motorcycles, pets, loud music, videotaping, food, and beverages are prohibited. Cars may enter at no charge, drive around on any road, and park on asphalt. Remember that this is an active cemetery, and common decency requires a sense of decorum around those mourning their loved ones.
Tiffany stained glass and stone sculptures adorm the tombs of New York City's noble born and notorius. Limited access to the public -self guided tours.::
HALL OF FAME
Louis Comfort Tiffany, store owner Charles Tiffany, newspaperman Horace Greeley, F.A.O. Schwartz, Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbetts, sewing machine inventor Elias Howe and his dog, Fannie - many more
"Bill the Butcher", from «Gangs of New York» infamy