Posts Tagged ‘Sad Cemetery Angels’

The mournful sculptures at a Bronx cemetery

December 21, 2012

Pastoral, gentle Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx doesn’t have the recognition of Green-Wood Cemetery or The Evergreens, both in Brooklyn.

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But it’s a similar kind of final resting place: an 1863 “rural” cemetery created after burials were banned in Manhattan for health reasons, and designed almost as parks, for leisure as well as mourning—composed of rolling hills with the remains of 300,000 New Yorkers underneath.

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Like Green-Wood and The Evergreens, it’s open to visitors, who are allowed to navigate the landscape and gaze at the angels and other figures that decorate many of the mausoleums and graves.

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Captain G.H. Winter was a firefighter, the hat tells us. Could he be the same G.H. Winter awarded a medal for bravery in 1944? This grave looks older than that.

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This Botticelli-tressed figure at the Curtis family tomb isn’t merely in mourning—she’s despondent and heartbroken.

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Many of New York’s leaders and hometown celebs are buried at Woodlawn: actors, politicians, sports stars, musicians. A complete list is here.

The teary-eyed angel of a Brooklyn cemetery

June 28, 2012

This angel looks to be weeping or wiping away a tear as she (he?) guards a grave at the Evergreens Cemetery on the Brooklyn-Queens border.

More angels just like this one stand by tombstones all over this necropolis of about half a million, which includes the graves of many German immigrants who settled in nearby Bushwick in the 19th century after the cemetery was founded in 1849.

It’s a lovely place to visit on a warm summer day.

The sad cemetery angels of Brooklyn

June 27, 2011

The gentle hills and slopes of Brooklyn’s Evergreens Cemetery are filled with figures of angels: intermediaries between earth and heaven and messengers from God who guard the graves of the dead.

Different angel poses have different meanings. The one above appears to be dropping flower petals, which supposedly symbolizes the spreading of blessings.

Why this angel has its finger to its mouth, I’m not sure. The flowers could indicate a tribute—or that a life in bloom ended too soon.

Not all angels have wings, but perhaps this grief-stricken figure is meant to depict the deep Christian faith of the departed.

Green-Wood Cemetery at the other end of Brooklyn has plenty of haunting angel figures too.

The fireman memorial at a Brooklyn cemetery

June 2, 2011

The Evergreens Cemetery, 225 acres on the Bushwick-Ridgewood border, doesn’t get a fraction of the attention Green-Wood Cemetery receives.

But it should. Incorporated in 1849, this peaceful burial ground is a necropolis of over half a million.

Think Civil War soldiers, Lincoln assassination figures, artists and actors, and thousands of ordinary prosperous German-Americans who settled in this part of the city in the 19th century.

Among the elaborately carved angels and mausoleums is a curious firefighter memorial: two statues of firemen plus the gravestones of fallen firefighters from several Eastern District volunteer hose, hook, or engine companies.

An 1858 New York Times news brief describes its beginning:

“The Board of Representatives of the Eastern District Fire Department, at a recent meeting, adopted a plan for a monument to be erected on the grounds in the Cemetery of the Evergreens.

“The design is a marble pedestal six feet square, upon which is to be placed a full-size statue of a fireman.

“The whole ground to be surrounded by a galvanized iron fence, the posts representing Corinthian hydrants. The expense, it is estimated, will not exceed $2,500, and the work will be commenced forthwith.”


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