Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Where Am I?

Let's play "Where Am I". I am a beautiful, 478-acre park opened in 1838. Within my boundaries reside some of the most famous and infamous people who ever walked the earth. While some of my dwellings are grand edifices overlooking charming ponds stocked with goldfish, many others are extremely humble. Within my walls lie sculpted works of art and architecture, twittering birds sing from tree branches of every shape and kind, and flowers galore dot my landscape; I am an oasis of peace and dignity surrounded by concrete and cacophony. I am all these things and more. (Give up?) I am Greenwood Cemetery.

We have done several tours of Greenwood and the experience is always an interesting one. You have to be able to walk the hilly terrain if you sign up for the walking tours, but they also have trolley tours to take you around the property. The guides are well informed and enthusiastic about their subjects. This past Sunday we did The Eminent Irish of Greenwood tour that turned out to be a fascinating 3 hour walk and lecture. Some of the other tours offered on the residents of Greenwood include: Scamps, Scallywags and Murderers; RMS Titanic and Greenwood; Great Women: Mother's Day Walking Tour, and many others. Also, being at the highest point in Brooklyn, the views of Manhattan are spectacular. Bring good walking shoes and a bottle of water; you'll need them.

Green-Wood is a Revolutionary War historic site (the Battle of Long Island was fought in 1776 across what is now its grounds), and a designated site on the Civil War Discovery Trail. In August of 2002, The Green-Wood Historic Fund rededicated New York City’s Civil War Soldiers Monument after a year of restoration. It was originally dedicated in 1876 on the Cemetery’s Battle Hill. The Historic Fund’s Civil War Project, an effort to identify and remember Civil War veterans buried at Green-Wood, was born of the enthusiasm felt at the rededication ceremony. The Civil War has always been a topic of great interest for me so I volunteered to join the ongoing effort to research, identify and memorialize unknown soldiers from both sides whose remains are buried at Greenwood.

The famous and infamous have continued to come to Green-Wood for over a century and a half now, bringing their lively stories and dark secrets with them. Green-Wood has more than 560,000 permanent residents, including Leonard Bernstein, Boss Tweed, Charles Ebbets, Henry Ward Beecher, Louis Comfort Tiffany, Horace Greeley, baseball legends, politicians, artists, entertainers, gangsters, inventors, and Civil War generals and other veterans. As The New York Times succinctly put it it 1866, “It is the ambition of the New Yorker to live upon Fifth Avenue, to take his airings in the [Central] Park, and to sleep with his fathers in Green-Wood.” 

It might sound a little creepy to hang around cemeteries for fun, but I can assure you that your days will be well spent. Read more and plan a visit.


LOOKING FOR A WORTHY CHARITY? TRY THESE FOLKS: Children's Craniofacial Association 

No comments: