Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hanging Out With The Astors

I don't want to brag, but I spent yesterday afternoon with the likes of John Jacob Astor, Clement Clarke Moore, and John James Audubon. They were absolutely perfect company - they're all dead and buried in the Trinity Cemetery and Mausoleum. Trinity Wall Street in Lower Manhattan ran out of buryin' room in 1842 and acquired some nice property at the northern end of the island to accommodate all the folks needing a posh place to be interred. Much of the land was the original estate of Audubon (now the site of The Church of the Intercession).

Hanging out in cemeteries is one of my favorite things to do, as long as I'm not there on official business, if you know what I mean. There's so much to be learned from the information people choose to put on their markers. I'm always sad to see markers with lists of small children - usually four or more names of babies all under 3 years of age. Families just carried on after all that death, I reckon. And of course some families have huge mausoleums or massive statues. Oy, look at us! 

The weather was gorgeous, and I was the only one around, except for a few folks working at the church. The cemetery is split in two by Broadway, with the eastern division taking up the blocks behind and alongside the church, and the western division running along Riverside Drive. Views of the Hudson and the George Washington Bridge were exceptional.

Former mayor of New York Ed Koch, though not yet dead, has his place all staked out and the marker and bench already in place. Talk about planning ahead! And I found a George Bartow buried atop a hill in the western division and wondered if he might be a Yankee branch of our own Bully Bartow family tree. The only marker I couldn't find was Jerry Orbach's (yes, they still bury folks in the communal mausoleums at Trinity). 

Hanging out with dead folks can be a pleasant thing to do. In the bright sunlight.

Children's marker. I saw 4 or 5 of these in cemetery.

Former mayor Ed Koch has planned ahead. (He's not dead yet.)

John James Audubon's resting place

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