Cremation Services in New York – Information

Questions We Are Frequently Asked

What is a Direct Cremation versus just Cremation?

Cremation is the process by which a dead human body is exposed to intense heat and flame for a period of time thus leaving only bone fragments once the process is complete. A direct cremation (also referred to as “Simple Cremation”, “Low Cost Cremation” or “No Frills Cremation”) is the least expensive disposition service option offered by a funeral home. Direct cremation is offered by select licensed funeral-cremation providers to serve the specific needs of individuals who desire the most simple, dignified, and economical means of disposing of the human dead.

Embalming is NOT REQUIRED for a direct cremation so it's not performed. Instead of a casket, the remains will be placed in a simple, rigid, cardboard alternative container.

There is no “service” with the body present when a direct cremation is selected. Any service you arrange post-cremation is called a "memorial service" and City Funeral Service can help you plan one if you desire. If piece-of-mind or religious customs demand that you “witness” the cremation, please call our office at (877) 274-5152 to discuss your needs so that we may provide you with your cremation options.

Direct cremation does NOT INCLUDE a public visitation period or a "wake”. However, an identification can be provided.

I thought you were a “Cremation Service”, why is there a separate fee for a Crematory?

City Funeral Service is a Funeral Home registered with the New York State Department of Health, Bureau of Funeral Directing. It is owned and operated by a licensed Funeral Director. While it is true we offer cremation services in the New York Area and target the consumer that wishes to arrange a Low Cost New York Cremation Service, New York State Law forbids funeral firms from operating a cremation retort (chamber) in their Funeral Home facility. Therefore, the final step in the cremation process – the cremation of the body, must be performed by an outside entity – usually a New York Cemetery that has a cremation chamber located on its grounds. Furthermore, the Crematory CANNOT act as a Licensed Funeral Director. While a Crematory may recommend us to you, they are forbidden to perform the services of a Funeral Director and Funeral Firm including placing the body into our care and shelter, providing the customer with all authorizations and price disclosures, completing and filing a death certificate, and providing funeral merchandise such as the cardboard alternative container, or cremation urns. The Crematory Fee will be listed on the right side of the Statement of Goods and Services Selected we will provide you at the time arrangements are finalized. We know this creates confusion to the consumer but we must comply with regulations. Other regions of the United States – notably California, Arizona, and Florida allow for cremations to take place either at a Funeral Home or at a separate Crematory or by a Cremation Society, with one entity completing the entire service process. We would also like to take the opportunity to make you aware that wherever you see advertised, either online or elsewhere, a funeral home or firm offering cremation with the words “Cremation Service” in their name, they must also be a Funeral Firm registered with New York State and under the supervision of a Funeral Director licensed in New York.

What is Cremation?

Cremation is the process of reducing the human body to bone fragments using high heat and flame. Cremation is not the final disposition of the remains, nor is it a type of funeral service.

Is a Casket needed for Cremation?

No, a casket is not required. However, the crematory requires the deceased's body be tendered to it in some form of rigid container. This is to afford a measure of dignity, and privacy while at the same time protecting the health and safety of the crematory operating staff. Depending on the arrangement you make with the City Funeral Service, you may select the cardboard alternative container, rental casket with removal insert, or a traditional wooden casket from our catalog. Caskets or containers constructed of steel are not suitable if cremation is selected.

Is Embalming Required?

No. Embalming is not required by City Funeral Service (it's against the law for us to do so). However, if there is to be a public viewing or "wake", we may ask for your permission to embalm the Deceased's body. There will be a cost factor involved in performing this service and will be noted along with the reason why the embalming procedure was performed on the Statement of Goods and Services Selected you receive from us at the time arrangements are finalized.

Can the body be viewed without embalming?

Yes, City Funeral Service allows immediate family members or a representative to briefly view the deceased prior to cremation. Note: this is not a public "wake" or visitation. We ask no more than 5 immediate family members or close friends arrive on the scheduled day of the identification period, and we ask that no more than 15 minutes be spent in our facility doing so.

Can the family witness the cremation?

Yes. Most Crematories allow the witnessing of the cremation. However, there may be limitations on how many people can be present, and most allow only for the viewing of the body (in the alternative container or casket) to be placed into the cremation retort, and the initial phases of the cremation itself.

Can an urn be brought into a church or house of worship?

Nearly all Protestant Churches and Roman Catholic Churches allow for the urn to be present during the service. We suggest contacting your congregation leader to verify this.

What can be done with the cremated remains?

Cremains can be buried in a cemetery lot or a cremation garden, interred in a columbarium, kept in a safe place, or scattered. There are no laws in New York State forbidding the scattering of ashes.

How can I be sure I receive the correct ashes?

Proper identification begins when you call the City Funeral Service. The information you provide us such as the name and location of the deceased is verified with those involved such as the Medical Examiner, Police, Hospital admissions office staff, Nursing Home Supervisor or Hospice coordinator. When our Funeral Director responds to the deceased's location, all identification bracelets and tags are verified with facility staff such as a hospital mortuary attendant, medical examiner staff, and in some instances, the family themselves. If no ID bracelets are present, one is affixed by us. When the body is placed into our care and returned to the Funeral Home, it is prepared according to the services you select and instructions you give us, and the casket or container is plainly labeled with information such as the deceased's name prior to leaving our location. A permit issued by the health department or appropriate municipal authorities, along with a multi-page authorization form completed during the arrangement conference by the party in charge of the deceased's affairs, usually the next-of-kin, but not always, accompanies the containerized body to the crematory. Once we arrive at the Crematory location, the markings on the container along with the accompanying documents are verified by the Crematory staff. When the remains are placed into the retort or cremation chamber, a metal disc bearing a sequential number is also placed into the chamber. This small piece of metal withstands the temperature of the cremation retort and remains intact. Following the completion of the cremation process, that sequential number is entered onto all the labeling of container the crematory places the ashes into, along with a certificate of cremation signed by an administrator of the crematory itself. The metal ID disc, is then packed with the ashes, inside the container supplied by the crematory. If you should have any doubt, or lack of trust, we suggest an identification of the body be made by you or someone you trust prior to us leaving for the crematory, or request the beginning of the cremation be witnessed. We would prefer to go the extra mile if it means you will have piece of mind.

How long does the cremation take?

Factors that affect cremation time are body weight, type of container or casket used, ambient temperature, and the temperature of the cremation chamber itself. An average size adult (200lbs) cremation averages 4 hours. Modern cremation equipment is computer controlled, and environmentally friendly.

What do cremated ashes look like?

Cremated remains resemble coarse sand and are whitish to light grey in color. The remains of an average sized adult usually weighs between 7 and 8 pounds.

Are all the cremated ashes returned?

With the exception of minute and microscopic particles, which are impossible to remove from the cremation chamber and processing machine, all of the cremated remains are given back to the family. Some clients request the cremains be divided into several smaller containers for distribution to multiple family members.

Do I need an urn?

An urn is not required. If ashes are to be placed into a niche with a marble face, or buried in a cemetery plot, City Funeral Service does not recommend you incur the expense. However, some people opt to keep the ashes with them, and may choose to purchase an urn. Cremation urns can be purchased from the City Funeral Service, or any provider of funeral merchandise, either online or in a store. Cremation urns are priced according to their ornateness, and the material it is constructed from. We will be happy to place the ashes into any container you supply, or purchase thru us.

How much will this cost?

Please click here see a complete list of Cremation service costs.


City Funeral Service, 23 Lockwood Avenue, Yonkers NY 10701 (914) 963-4499

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