Green-Wood Grows: Brooklyn Cemetery Buys Landmarked Florist Across Fifth Ave

11/08/2011 4:16 PM |

The landmarked McGovern-Weir flower shop, soon to be Green-Wood Cemeterys visitor center and museum.
  • The landmarked McGovern-Weir flower shop, soon to belong to Green-Wood Cemetery.

Brooklyn’s historic Green-Wood Cemetery, with its underground population of 560,000 (including many celebrities), is about to reach capacity and looking to expand. But the new space won’t be for the dead: the city has just given Green-Wood approval to purchase, renovate and convert into a visitors’ center and museum the landmarked but dilapidated McGovern-Weir Florist building across Fifth Avenue on the corner of 25th Street.

In July the Times revealed that the cemetery wanted to convert the flower shop into a welcome center with historic displays. Today Brownstoner reports that the City Council has approved sale of the building to Green-Wood.

A Historic Districts Council statement on the decision notes that “the public approval was necessary because of a state law involving cemetery usage.” Of course, “cemetery usage” in this case doesn’t mean, you know, cemetery usage, but rather that the building will serve Green-Wood’s function as a tourist destination, doubling as a visitors’ center and exhibition space. Meanwhile, people coming for actual “cemetery usage” will have to go a little further to get flowers.