Located in the Woodside/Long Island City area of Queens, Calvary is the first major cemetery to be established beyond the island of Manhattan by the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Alsop farm, with a family cemetery and an additional 115 acres, was purchased in 1845. The cemetery was consecrated by Archbishop John Hughes in August 1848. Over the course of its history, an additional 250 acres have been added. The four major divisions of Calvary, commonly known as Old/First, Second, Third and Fourth, are formally identified as the Divisions of St. Callixtus, St. Agnes, St. Sebastian and St. Domitilla to correspond with the ancient Roman catacombs. The 365 acres have been subdivided into 71 numbered and identified sections.
A major chapel is located in First Calvary. Originally a frame building, it was replaced with a limestone edifice which was solemnly blessed by Archbishop John Farley in 1908. Unique in design, the chapel features bas relief carvings over the various entrances and is crowned with a granite statue of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Eucharist is regularly celebrated in this chapel for those interred within Calvary, at this time, more than 1,750,000.
Over the years, the land has been completely developed. Most sections have been designed for single or double graves to accommodate lot holder choices. There are, however, many areas where plots are much larger and these plots offer excellent examples of Catholic memorialization, calling to mind Catholic beliefs about life, death and life after death.
Among notable Catholics buried or entombed in Calvary Cemetery are
- Alfred E. Smith — New York Governor/Presidential Candidate 1928 — Section 45
- Robert F. Wagner — United States Senator — Section 45
- Robert Wagner — Mayor or New York City — Section 45
- Joseph Petrosino — Italian Squad of New York Police Department — Section 22
- Annie More — First to be processed thru Ellis Island — Section 20
- Hugh Grant — Mayor of New York City — Section 9
While the cemetery has been completely developed, management continues to locate areas for those desiring burial within this facility.