Photographing NY's Sleepy Hollow Cemetery (in Hipstamatic)
It wasn't part of the plan, spending some of our Sunday afternoon with long-dead notable names, but sometimes these things just happen. They specifically happen when, during a spur-of-the-moment rental car weekend trip up the Hudson River Valley, we spot Sleepy Hollow Cemetery coming up on Google Maps Driving Directions on our iPhone.
There was a fork in the road. Go right and continue on to our planned brunch? Go left and head into the thicket of graves, cutting brunch short? Since the best experiences usually result from taking the least convenient option in moments like this, we veered left.
What resulted was a surprisingly happy hour manuevering the inclines and switchbacks of this hilly cemetery to visit The Legend of Sleepy Hollow author Washington Irving, gazillionaires Andrew Carnegie, William Rockefeller, Walter Chrysler, Elizabeth Arden and the Helmsleys. We missed the Astors, so a return is already in order. You need to go. The photography opportunities alone are worth it, as we found out after firing up the Hipstamatic app and playing with our eeriest filters.
How to reach the cemetery: By car from NYC, just head up the West Side Highway which becomes the Henry Hudson Parkway. Merge onto the Saw Mill Parkway North and take exit 20 to merge onto I-87 N. From there, take exit 9 to US-9 and it's a few turns away. Plug "Sleepy Hollow Cemetery" into google directions and it'll know. By public transportation, you'll have to take the Metro North Railroad to Philipse Manor and walk several blocks--or to the Tarrytown stop and grab a taxi.
Ideal times to visit: October for the creepy Halloween vibe, mid-April for spring's full bloom or July if cemeteries creep you out and you'd prefer it to look as happy and fresh as possible.
Other stuff: Entrance is free and though it's best to drive around to hit all the graves without spending hours and hours there, it is also walkable. Hiking shoes are best, and plan for like 2 hours at the least if you're only hitting the popular graves.
[All photos: Cynthia Drescher]