New Brunswick, New Jersey: Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl

Lovesick girl waits and waits for her sailor beau, dies, is buried on the spot -- and eventually a multiplex is built around her. Inspired a number one song in 1972. The waiting, not the multiplex.
Address:
17 US Hwy 1, New Brunswick, NJ
Directions:
US Hwy 1 southbound, just south of the Raritan River bridge. In the parking lot behind the AMC Loews multiplex.
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Grave in a parking lot. Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl

The gravesite is a little overgrown, but easy enough to find in the back of the parking lot, on a big brick pedestal (about 8 feet high).

[Patti D., 08/29/2013]
Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl

It is surmised that, because the band Looking Glass originated in the New Brunswick area, that their hit song "Brandy" was based on the legend of Mary Ellis. However, in an interview with Elliot Lurie, lead guitarist and writer/singer of the song, the lyrics were loosely based on a girl he knew in real life, and while the stories may be similar, the song has nothing to do with Mary Ellis.

[Wendy B., 07/12/2013]
Spinster's grave in a parking lot. Parking Lot Grave of Sailor's Girl

Mary Ellis (1750-1827) was a spinster in New Brunswick, New Jersey whose grave now sits six feet above a parking lot.

The oral tradition was that she was seduced by a sea captain who vowed to return to marry her. He never returned and she would come to the spot where her grave now stands, each day, to look for his ship in the Raritan River in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

The song "Brandy" by the New Jersey band Looking Glass is said to have been inspired by the Mary Ellis story. The lyrics include the lines: "Brandy, you're a fine girl. What a good wife you would be. But my life, my lover, my lady is the sea."

Her family home eventually became the site for the Route 1 Flea Market, and later the Loew's Theatre. Her grave now sits in what became the parking lot, and now rests about six feet above the level of the parking lot.

[Jennifer Weaver, 07/23/2007]
Parking lot grave. Grave of Sailor's Girl

As you head down Route 1 in New Jersey going South, crossing the Raritan River, there's a large movie complex. That space used to be a flea market. But what's in the movie theater isn't what's interesting...it's the grave site that's out in the parking lot. Now, why would there be a headstone and small graveyard in the parking lot near the river? Here's the story:

Back in the days when sailing ships could go up and down the Raritan River, a New Jersey woman from the New Brunswick area fell in love with a sailor. The sailor had to go back to his ship, but promised he loved her and would return to her. For years, this woman sat (on horseback) every day waiting for her sailor to return. He never did. When she died, her family (who owned the land) burried her near the River. The family has since sold the land but always with the caveat that the little grave plot remain. It is rumored that she is buried with her horse.

[Terry, 07/25/2006]

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