They came for a rare glimpse of the Chapel of the Sisters, restored by a $700,000 project to its glorious, circa-1857 self after years of neglect.
A century and a half ago, Nicholas Ludlum - an ancestor of Cate's, though the surname spelling changed over the years commissioned the chapel to memorialize his three daughters, who died at ages 1, 13 and 21.
The chapel was deemed so unique that the city landmarked it in 1977 - along with the adjacent Prospect Cemetery, where Nicholas Ludlum, his wife Sarah and their daughters are buried.
But by the late 1990s, decades of neglect had left the land in disrepair. Pews rotted in the chapel, layered in pigeon and rat dung. Outside, chest-high vegetation towered over tombstones dating as far back as 1728.
Restored from ruin, a 19th century chapel comes back to life
A ceremony today at the Romanesque Revival chapel on 159th St. between Archer and Liberty Aves. will usher in the next chapter of its history.
The land - owned by the city Parks Department - sits on the campus of CUNY's York College, which plans to use the chapel for classes, faculty meetings and a music performance space, said college spokesman Nate Moore.
Ludlam's husband, Dick Frankenheimer, wondered if the city would make good on its promise to maintain the grounds.
Maintenance is never as sexy as fixing something up and having a ribbon-cutting photo op.