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Green-Wood Cemetery Lures Young Visitors with Whiskey Tasting, Trivia Night

GREENWOOD HEIGHTS — This cemetery is anything but dead.

Brooklyn's historic Green-Wood Cemetery is breathing new life into its calendar with a series of events aimed at a young, hip audience.

The tree-filled 478-acre cemetery is the final resting place for more than 500,000 New Yorkers, including luminaries like composer Leonard Bernstein and artist Jean-Michel Basquiat.

This spring the cemetery will embrace its livelier side with hip events including a whiskey tasting, trivia night and a nighttime "mausoleum mixer" where guests will sip cocktails while communing with the departed by candlelight.

The park-like grounds already attract more than 250,000 visitors a year, but recently the cemetery has made a push to connect with "young Brooklynites," said Lisa Alpert, the cemetery's director of development and marketing.

"We're having events that are open and fun and entertaining," Alpert said. "It's really important to us and our emerging identity as a cultural institution and a destination for tourists and New Yorkers."

On March 23, the cemetery will introduce the public to spirits — the alcoholic kind — at the grave of Hezekiah Beers Pierrepont, who ran a Brooklyn distillery in the 19th century. Tour participants will learn about Pierrepont's distilling methods, then hop on one of Green-Wood's historic trolleys and ride to Breuckelen Distillery in nearby Sunset Park for a tasting.

On April 25, the cemetery will host a bar-style trivia night focusing on obscure knowledge about Brooklyn, Kings County and Green-Wood. The event starts with a moonlight tour and drinks in Green-Wood's chapel.

Ghost chasers looking to mingle will be in luck on May 18, when Green-Wood invites the public to tour rarely seen mausoleums at night during a "mausoleum mixer."

There's also a baseball-themed tour that coincides with baseball's opening day, and in June the cemetery will bring back a popular after-dark theater performance of "Spoon River Anthology" — a fitting choice because its characters are all dead people, Alpert said.