Given the popularity of Martin Scorcese’s movie The Wolf of Wall Street, Woodlawn Cemetery director Cristiana Peña likes to point out the resting site of another American fat cat: Jay Gould, known to some as the “Skunk of Wall Street.”
His 30,000-square-foot plot is the largest singular plot at Woodlawn Cemetery, occupied by the mausoleum in which Mr. Gould is entombed, as well as a weeping beech tree like the ones he is said to have planted himself on his estate in Tarrytown in the 1800s. A railroad speculator and developer, Mr. Gould accrued a massive fortune — and notoriety as a “robber baron” with close ties to Boss Tweed and Tammany Hall.
But in spite of, or perhaps because of, his reputation and rise to riches, Mr. Gould left behind a site at Woodlawn that is the picture of serene grandiosity — a temple-style mausoleum reminiscent of the Greek Parthenon.
“It’s really meant to look like the Parthenon — kind of a temple to himself,” said Ms. Peña. “Every mausoleum told a story about the person’s life and what things were important to them.”
Mr. Gould is one of many historical figures — most with more positive reputations than his own — and “ordinary” people buried or entombed at Woodlawn Cemetery, which celebrated its 150th anniversary last year and was deemed a National Historic Landmark in 2011.