The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York is the resting place of many famous artists and musicians, including Leonard Bernstein, Charles Ebbets, and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Visitors often pay their respects to those they admire by leaving flowers by their tombstones. However, there’s one particular grave that seems to be visited more than most. Guarding his owner’s plot near the corner of Sycamore and Greenbough Avenues, there’s a bronze statue of Rex the dog, who died over a century ago. For years, people have been collecting and leaving sticks by his stone paws, but his collection has grown exponentially over recent months.
Rex was the faithful companion of John E. Stow, one of NYC's leading fruit merchants who died in 1884. Green-Wood’s files from the 19th century include a note that refers to the placement of a “bronze likeness of a dog,” next to Stow’s grave. However, it’s unclear if Rex is actually buried there. “I think people like to believe that there is a dog interred there and there very well might be,” Stacy Locke, Communications Manager at Green-Wood Cemetery says. “But it’s hard to say.”
The 478-acre cemetery has become a popular place for people to explore during the COVID-19 pandemic, as it offers plenty of space for social distancing. Due to the prominent location of Rex’s grave, passersby can easily find it and pay homage to the “good boy” by leaving a stick or two. “It’s right under a tree and there are lots of sticks around,” Locke explains. “People will drop a stick across his little paws. Someone also left a picture of a dog there once, maybe their little pet who passed away, as to say, ‘Rex, look after my little one.’”
If you’re in NYC, you can find Rex’s memorial at Green-Wood Cemetery, Lot 2925, Section 81.
People are leaving sticks at the 100-year-old grave of Rex the dog at Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn.
In Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn there is a gravestone for a dog named Rex. People bring him sticks and place them at his feet because he is still a good boy. cc: @dog_rates pic.twitter.com/0GhxcZwjSz
— Kevin T. Morales 🗳 (@KevinTMorales) August 2, 2020
People have laid sticks on the grave of this good boy. pic.twitter.com/z6TPUdo5wn
— T R Windham (@terrawindham) June 22, 2020
I took a walk in Greenwood Cemetery today and looks at all the sticks piled up for the goodest boy Rex 😭😭😭 pic.twitter.com/iey05ks8MT
— Meghan (@meghanad) March 31, 2020