Friday, October 2, 2020

Moonrise at Green-Wood Cemetery

Last night, I attended  a most unique event at Green-Wood Cemetery with my friend & fellow funeral director, Doris Amen. It was a two mile stroll through the grounds, after dark, on a perfect fall evening . Along the way, we encountered performance artists stationed in and around some of Green-Wood’s many notable mausoleums and monuments. Food stations, too, were available.

Our ties to Green-Wood run deep. Doris is the cemetery’s “go to” funeral director, having handled the funerals of the cemetery president’s family, as well as many of the staff’s loved ones. While I, enamored with the grounds from my very first visit as a funeral director, wrote a book about the place. During the researching and writing process, I traversed the grounds countless times. Still, seeing it at night is something extra-special. Even in the dark, we discovered new sites and saw others in a different light. Highlights were the Currier (of Currier & Ives) monument lit up in pink, and the Charlotte Canda Gothic memorial (a perennial favorite) illuminated by candles.

When at last we came to the end of the trail, we were sad to see the night end. But we have our memories, and lots of photos, some of which we shared on Instagram.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

He Wrote Well (and wanted us to do the same)


In August, I was given a tour of All Saints Cemetery, on Long Island in preparation for an article I was working on. It was a real thrill for me, as a writer -- and taphophile -- to be shown the grave of William Zinsser, the author of "On Writing Well." Such an unexpected name in an unexpected place. I've included the cemetery & his name, along with my latest article --Windows into Long Island's Past -- for American Cemetery & Cremation magazine.

Sunday, July 12, 2020

What He Did For Love.

Composer and conductor extraordinaire, Marvin Hamlisch, wrote the award-winning What I Did For Love for the musical "A Chorus Line."  It is a fitting inscription on Hamlisch's memorial in Mt. Zion Cemetery.  His funeral in Manhattan's Temple Emanu-El was a  glorious celebration of  his myriad contributions to the entertainment world.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

The Fortunoff Family

Among the 50,000 + people buried in Mt. Ararat in Lindenhurst, New York, are some of Long Island’s most recognizable names. Foremost among them is Fortunoff. In 1922, Max and Clara Fortunoff began the popular retail store in Brooklyn moving  to Westbury in 1964. What became a shopping mecca for Long Islanders closed in 2009. Max Fortunoff died in 1987, at the age of 89. He is buried with his wife, Clara, daughter Marjorie Mayrock, who preceded him in death, and a number of other family members. The Fotunoff/Mayrock plot is located under a towering oak tree, on a shady corner, at the far end of the cemetery. His footstone reads: He Lived the American Dream.

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

The Beard Bear

This bear marks the grave of artist William Holbrook Beard who was known for his depiction of human-like animals. Bears were particular favorites of his. His work can be seen in the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the New-York Historical Society, and The Metropolitan Museum of Art. One of his most famous paintings was "Bulls and Bears in the Market in 1879. The work was a satirical rendition of the behavior of investors. Beard is buried in Brooklyn's Green-Wood Cemetery.

Monday, February 3, 2020

Washington DC

Finally got the chance to tour two of Washington DC's standout cemeteries: Oak Hill and Congressional. So many monuments caught my attention, some for the notable person buried below, some for the architecture, and others for the inscription. This one, with its powerful and poignant message, is a case in point.

Friday, January 31, 2020

Benjamin Bradlee

The prominent location of former Washington Post editor Benjamin Bradlee's mausoleum, in Georgetown's Oak Hill Cemetery, was the subject of heated debate. A DC advocacy group contended that the mausoleum "threatened the cemetery's historic entranceway" and they tried to stop construction. After their initial resistance, the city, along with the cemetery's support, permitted the project to go forward.

Katharine Graham, the newspaper's former publisher, and Bradlee's friend and former boss, is buried not far from the neo-classical structure. 

Moonrise at Green-Wood Cemetery

Last night, I attended  a most unique event at Green-Wood Cemetery with my friend & fellow funeral director, Doris Amen. It was a two mi...