I have, in my travels, found a number of very cool spots in Brooklyn from which one can view the skyline of Manhattan. There’s the Smith and 9th Street F train station, high above the neighborhood of Carroll Gardens. There’s a lovely promenade in Brooklyn Heights, which overhangs the East River and the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (the world’s most pock-marked parking lot).

And there’s a grassy hilltop covered with flowering trees and marble angels, the highest spot in King’s County, a grand stretch of green that rises over a grubby workaday industrial/commercial zone. It’s a stone’s throw from the buzz and hum of a major ConEd electrical nexus, and lies beneath the flight pattern of Brooklyn’s rambunctious wild parrots.

And yet it’s quiet.

Dead quiet.

It’s the view from the Green-Wood Cemetery.

Green-Wood was founded in 1838. The name is hyphenated because “19th century New Yorkers loved hyphens,” according to cemetery historian Jeff Richman, who writes books about and leads tours of the place.

Green-Wood was the site of the Battle of Long Island in 1776. If it hadn’t been set aside to serve the dead so long ago, its undulating 478 acres would ignite even bloodier wars today between developers. Instead, it’s a National Historic Landmark and an Audobon sanctuary. Its tour schedule includes a night wander for which you bring a flashlight and sign a “waiver of liability.” It boasts a rococo Gothic gate, a modern community mausoleum, and a Japanese meditation garden with pools full of fat koi.

There are, too, smaller family mausoleums. Some are austere vaults; others teem with steeples and angels and saints. One is a cottage-sized faux pyramid, its entrance flanked by what looks like the Holy Family and guarded by a bizarre sphinx-ish creature. I assume the people buried in it designed it themselves ahead of time; it’s not the sort of thing others build for you (Damn, I miss Jeremy—let’s build him…hmmm…how ’bout a pyramid?).

Not far from that monumental oddity, a granite bench sits next to a simple headstone that’s flush with the ground. The name on the stone: Leonard Bernstein.

In its relatively short history, Green-Wood has amassed roughly 560,000 residents. It’s still accepting applicants. For prices—which run roughly from the price of a car to that of a McMansion—check out http://www.green-wood.com.

New occupants will swap earthworms with an A-list that includes Henry Ward Beecher, the preacher who, while notable in his own right, will be eternally upstaged by his sis, Harriet Beecher Stowe. Newsman Horace Greeley’s planted there; apparently he never took his own advice to Go West. There are mobsters, “Crazy Joe” Gallo and Albert Anastasia. There’s Boss Tweed—speaking of mobsters. And local baseball hero Charlie Ebbet, former owner of the Dodgers and their long-lost and much-lamented Ebbet’s Field.

But, since I’m not dead yet, it’s the view that impresses me. You can lean against a flowering cherry tree and take in the Manhattan skyline. You can see the Statue of Liberty. In fact, if you go to the military section of the graveyard, up on the hill, you’ll see Lady Liberty over the shoulder of an outsized statue of the goddess Minerva. Minerva is waving across the water to her French amie. Really. It says so on the plinth beneath her big bronze feet.

Not long ago, private developers plotted to build a highrise on private land at the cemetery’s hem. The graveyard’s preservationists noted with alarm that the proposed building would obstruct Minerva’s view of her buddy. They put out petitions on the cemetery’s website to save the lines of communication between the two colossal women. “We did reach an agreement with the developer on the corner closest to Minerva to maintain her view of her sister, the Statue of Liberty,” says Jeff Richman. However, threats to the view continue with development in Red Hook, the section of Brooklyn that sits directly on the river. “We have tried to have the view protected,” Mr. Richman says, “but there is only one such protected view in NYC.” That view is the aforementioned Brooklyn Heights panorama.

Mr. Richman hastens to add that the cemetery’s advocates do not plan to give up the battle.

It’s an attitude that Minerva would certainly applaud, if she could lower her hand.