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"The Memorial of the 400"

Updated: May 24, 2021

Located down in Wall Street at 79 Broadway, The Astor Cenotaph, in Trinity Cemetery in New York, was commissioned by her youngest daughter, Carrie, who erected the 39 foot tall cenotaph in her memory, in addition to her uptown burial plot. A cenotaph is a monument memorializing a person buried elsewhere. It is dubbed "The Memorial of the 400".

Mrs. Caroline Astor, queen of New York society, threw elaborate balls to kick off the winter every year beginning in 1872 and listed twenty-five friends who she deemed acceptable to invite, and each of the 25 could invite five ladies and four gentlemen of their acquaintance. In addition, prominent politicians, businessmen, ladies and men of means and debutantes would also be invited, bringing the number to about 400, which came to be referred to in hushed terms as The Four Hundred.

Beginning at the bottom, the cenotaph depicts Old testament figures Seth, Enoch, Noah, Shem, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Judah, Ruth, Jesse and David and is crowned with a crucifix.


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