South Slope

Green-Wood Cemetery Appears To Be Latest Front In Clown Stunt Epidemic


Clown at Green-Wood by Matthew Eck
“Green-Wood is turning into an amusement park,” a commenter wrote on our site back in October when the historic cemetery opened its gates to runners for one day while Prospect Park was closed. And now, it seems, at least one person is trying to further that perception.

Matthew Eck, who describes himself in his Twitter bio as a “Visual Artist, Curator, Extraordinaire,” sent us these photos of a person dressed up as a clown, carrying balloons, who he says “is definitely haunting” the cemetery. He adds:

I work nearby in Industry city and there have been a lot of rumors about the clown this summer…. and yup… they are true. He was loitering around a lot of gravestones nearby 34th and 5th ave… kinda by a little lake. He was very timid and ran away whenever I got closer. I did find a Build a Bear bag nearby where I found him that had a womans umbrella and a bag of fritos…..

Very Strange…

Clown at Green-Wood by Matthew Eck
If you’ve been following “clown sighting” news recently, you’ll be familiar with a rash of spottings in Staten Island that took social media by storm — turning out only to be a publicity stunt — and another seen around England last year.

Whether this is another stunt or another person seemingly just looking for attention — and perhaps the photographer himself is involved in some way? — the venue for the spectacle seems like a poor choice, and one that could receive some significant backlash should a stunt be revealed.

In addition to concerns with allowing runners to use the cemetery for a single day, people have called the use of Green-Wood as a venue for organized events like concerts and other performances disrespectful. Two years ago, a petition was started to address the issue, noting that those who are interred here would “mind that folks are walking, eating, drinking, and sitting on their graves,” adding that holding events on the grounds “is an outrage and such a disgrace.”

At the time, Green-Wood responded by noting their respect for those buried there, and their pride at working at such a historic place:

Most of the gravestones you’re speaking of are over a century old and among some of the most beautiful in the cemetery. However, there are a few more recent burials near that area, and to your point, we will think about roping them off for next year’s concert. Of course, regardless of the dates, everyone is very respectful of the stones and the memories of those interred beneath them. 

We’ve reached out to Green-Wood to see if they’ve heard anything about this clown, but have yet to hear back. And as yet, #greenwoodclown is not a thing.

Comment policy


  1. I’m not sure I agree that it’s disrespectful to hold events at a graveyard. It’s a beautiful piece of land and to keep the site relevant for those who live in the area can also be considered a tribute to those who have passed.

  2. I personally prefer funerals that celebrate a person’s life; parties on the beach or some other happy occasion. But not everyone agrees. The events are about making money in an increasingly gentrified neighborhood, not respecting the wishes of those buried.

  3. Great! He brings out a primal emotion. Its hilarious, creepy and disrespectful all at the same time.

  4. He needs to be dragged off the property by his ear, and then kicked really hard in the rear end by someone wearing a big hard clown shoe! Obviously He is jealous of the Staten Island Clown…who by the way is back at work serving customers at IHOP.

  5. Why is everyone dumping on clowns, accusing them of being “creepy” and up to no good? This is nothing more than Bozophobia (aka Coulrophobia), an irrational and totally unjustified fear or hatred of costumed jesters who, throughout history, have made people laugh and delighted children of all ages.

    Yeah, there have been evil clown characters in movies, and even evil people dressed as clowns in real life, but who would disparage the legendary Bozo, Clarabell, Emmett Kelly, Grandma from the Big Apple Circus, or mimes like Marcel Marceau?

    Maybe this guy was just trying to find a graveside posthumous birthday party for which he was hired or to which he was invited, or maybe he was, himself, the victim of a prank. And how do we know that he wasn’t a she, which would have made the clown’s supposed motives somewhat less “creepy?”

    Green-wood Cemetery has hosted all kinds of festive entertainment events from concerts to Halloween celebrations and even zombie-themed events, hardly in keeping with the somber, mournful, atmosphere to which many of the above commenters would restrict this landmark resting place for so many of New York’s celebrated historical and entertainment figures. Perhaps this clown was visiting the grave of a departed friend or relative, perhaps even a fellow clown, or perhaps a child who loved clowns.

    I can think of a fate far worse than having a balloon-bearing clown visiting my grave, like maybe having no visitors at all. So send in the clowns! At least this one was here.

  6. Along with a rabbi, I told my wife that when the time comes, I would like a clown at my funeral (remember; the word “funeral” starts with “fun”). She damn near squirted me with seltzer!

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