A Jaunt to the New York City Marble Cemetery
If you’ve done any amount of time kicking around the Lower East Side, you’ve passed the New York City Marble Cemetery on Second Street Between 1st and 2nd Avenues. It’s not to be confused with the New York Marble Cemetery (look carefully for the difference in the names), which is around the corner, and as both their web sites claim, is “unrelated”. The latter apparently has underground mausoleums and is viewable on a different schedule. We’ll get to that one. Meantime, we went to this one.
Ordinarily you’ll find the front gate locked, looking like this:
But once a month they open it up to the public and it looks like this:
And so, after a long time of wanting to, I finally got to go inside yesterday.
Ironically, I failed in my only specific agenda item, to find the marker for my distant relative Preserved Fish. I wasn’t very organized; I just wanted a pleasant outing, and got one. I did find this photo of the marker online though, and so I’ll know what to look for next time.
We did find many other points of interest, including the vault were President James Monroe was formerly interred prior to being exhumed and moved to Richmond. He died a veritable pauper and so he originally rated only this modest stone. So, sure, we’re the “Greatest Nation in the World” — until I hear shit like this. I can’t imagine something so cold happening to a national leader in any other nation but ours. He wasn’t even hated — he was well regarded and highly accomplished! Policies and “doctrines” and national capitals (Monrovia, Liberia) bear his name! But, “Uh, I’m sorry President Poor Guy — you’ll have to take the economy tombstone. Near the back. Too bad you didn’t have more money, and no one wanted to give you any!”
Mostly, the place was wonderfully cheering in a Gothic sort of way. It’s really just a beautiful walled garden with statuary — and remains! A festive environment prevailed. We saw a little party of older Goth women happening under a bush. I wasn’t indiscreet enough to photograph them, but I did capture this lady doing her thing on the accordion. That was two accordion concerts I got that day (I went to Circus Amok after this).
The New York City Marble Cemetery will next be open to the public on September 25 and October 15 & 16. For more information go here.