Thursday, September 6, 2012

Day 99- August 19

By Al

Today we went to the Greenwood Cemetery.  It was founded in 1838 in what was at the time rural Brooklyn.  It is now very much in the city.  Wikipedia describes it thus,

" It was a popular tourist attraction in the 1850s and was the place most famous New Yorkers who died during the second half of the nineteenth century were buried. It is still an operating cemetery with approximately 600,000 graves spread out over 478 acres (1.9 km²). The rolling hills and dales, several ponds and an on-site chapel provide an environment that still draws visitors. "

It is a very beautiful place to just walk around.  Many of the monuments are works of art in their own right.  Also, it is very hilly, so you are constantly getting new views as you walk around.  Of course, it is also fun to visit the graves of famous people.

The entrance

Louis Comfort Tiffany's grave. These tombstones intrigued me because they are square- an unusual shape for a tombstone. He outlived two wives and two children.

A monument to George Catlin.  It was only put up two years ago. George Catlin was an American painter. (He appears in The Great Journey,  the David McCullough book I have talked about.  Catlin spent two years travelling through the Great Plains, living with and painting portraits of  45 tribes of Native Americans. With the tribes soon to be forced into reservations, it was a task that was accomplished just in time. He produced more than 500 paintings of Native Americans, which he took to Paris to exhibit.  He was quite a hit there.

Catlin's actual grave has a  very simple marker.  This statue gives him some of the honor he deserves for his work.

Samuel Morse's grave.

Boss Tweed's grave.  After years of running New York politics, his corruption was discovered and prosecuted.  He ran off to Spain, but was brought back to New York, convicted, and imprisoned.  He died penniless. Apparently, he still had some friends with money to pay for this monument.  I learned that I share his wife's birthday.

The Steinway crypt. When I saw this, I wondered if the Steinways have an actual Steinway Grand Piano inside because it is HUGE.

Horace Greeley's grave.

The Soldier's Monument.  Dedicated to the soldiers from New York who fought in the Civil War.  It is on the top of Battle Hill, the highest point in Brooklyn.  It is here that the battle of Brooklyn was fought.
The Battle of Brooklyn (August 22-27, 1776) was the first major battle after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, and the largest battle of the conflict.  The British knew it would be important to capture New York City and the Hudson, thus dividing Washington's army.  After the attack on Patriots in Brooklyn Heights, Washington retreated by boat to Manhattan.  On September 15, the British captured New York City

Sally at Leonard Bernstein's grave.  It is on Battle Hill. I like to contrast this marker with Boss Tweed's.  One of our best-known composers and orchestra conductors has a very small, simple marker, while a ruthless criminal has a large and grand marker. I was happy to see Bernstein's marker covered with stones and flowers.  As with many people my age, he introduced me to classical music with his TV series of concerts for young people.

The Statue of Liberty from Battle Hill.

The Minerva monument.  She is the Roman goddess of wisdom.  She faces the Statue of Liberty from atop Battle Hill.

The chapel at the cemetery.


A window in the chapel.

Parakeet nests in the top of the entrance gate.The cemetery has a large parakeet population who are descendants of parakeets which were released in the park by their owners many years ago.

After the cemetery, we went to a very good Austrian restaurant nearby.  It is called Der Kommissar.  The have several excellent sausages. 

Sally's Day

(As I write this, I am getting all choked up watching a tribute to Edward Kennedy from the DNC.  I hope someone writes a biography of him soon.  It seemed that after his "wild" years, he spent his years redeeming himself in fearlessly pursuing legislation that we needed.  Too bad he didn't live to see the signing of the Affordable Health Care Act.)

Rather than writing a separate entry, I will add my comments to Al's pictures in italics.



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