A rare crypt nestled beneath the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral in Manhattan can be purchased for as much as $ 7 million.
A full six-person family vault located deep beneath St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral Basilica is the last of its kind, according to the New York Post, and is in a prime location in SoHo.
To 205-year-old crypt, first unveiled to the public in 2017, visitors must crawl past massive wooden doors and 1.2-meter-thick stone walls.
Frank Alfieri, director of the basilica’s ancient cemetery and columbaria, told The Post that anyone who buys the cemetery can be “ buried with the people who initiated the Catholic faith in New York.
The Catacombs and Crypts of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (pictured) were first opened to the public in 2017
Pictured: A statue of Jesus Christ on the crucifix was placed next to two burial vessels under the church
The Mulberry Street grounds are one of the few cemeteries in Manhattan where space is limited and prices are high.
The $ 7 million cost may be a hard sell for some, but the exclusive crypt is surrounded by a host of notable neighbors.
Five priests, two bishops and 33 families are buried in the church’s catacombs, including Archbishop John H. Hughes, or “Dagger John,” according to The New York Times.
Others included Countess Annie Leary, a friend of the distinguished Astor family; “Fair” John Kelly, a 19th-century New York congressman and the boss of Tammany Hall; and the Delmonico family, who are credited with running successful restaurants and introducing dishes such as baked Alaska.
John Connolly, New York’s first bishop, was buried in the basilica in 1825.
A family vault initially belonged to General Thomas Eckert, who was an adviser to Abraham Lincoln. The former president wrote his draft of the Emancipation Proclamation in Eckert’s office.
The catacombs and crypts of the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral were placed behind two massive wooden doors and thick stone walls (photo)
General Thomas Eckert’s family vault (pictured) was decorated with Guastavino tiles and original Thomas Edison light bulbs
The New York Times reported that Eckert’s vault was decorated with Guastavino tiles and original Thomas Edison light bulbs. The safe is sealed behind two solid brass doors.
Alfieri explained that church officials chose to put the family vault up for sale as a gesture to the community.
“We thought it would be better if a Catholic family wishing to be buried in New York had a place to go,” he told the Post.
Part of St. Patrick’s appeal was that it be the only Catholic cemetery in Manhattan, with burials dating all the way back to the 1700s.
Alferi argued that St. Patrick’s is the most historic church in the city for Catholics.
“A lot of people don’t realize what’s just under their feet,” he said.
Pictured: Visitors to The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral walk through the catacombs as part of a tour that began in 2017
Mgr. Donald Sakano: ‘We still have a long way to go to make the site the way we want it. The gravestones deteriorate as we speak, the soft stone loses inscriptions’
The Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral (pictured) has begun to build hundreds of cremation niches selling between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000
St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral is said to be the final resting place of “the people who started the Catholic faith in New York”
That sentiment likely prompted St. Patrick’s to bring catacombs and crypts into the 21st century.
The Times reports that the church has begun building hundreds of cremation niches that sell between $ 10,000 and $ 15,000.
Next to the church is an outdoor cemetery with a stone walkway since 1815.
“We still have a long way to go to make the land as we want it,” Mgr. Donald Sakano told the Times.
“The tombstones are deteriorating right now, the soft stone is losing inscriptions.”
Some of the tombstones were reportedly damaged, stacked on top of each other and scattered across the lawn.
Pictured: A portrait of Jesus Christ was photographed in the Basilica of St. Patrick’s Old Cathedral, where a family vault was put up for sale
Alferi admitted to the Times that St. Patrick’s struggled to pay bills, but organizing guided tours for visitors has helped cover costs and boost community morale.
“It has become a source of understanding for the Church and what it has meant for this neighborhood over the past two centuries,” he said.
Monsignor Sakano added: “People from the neighborhood look longingly over the wall.
‘It’s almost as if you want to stay in the neighborhood with your eternally affordable housing.’