Monday, November 16, 2009

Cypress Hills National Cemetery: Amplification

Cypress Hills National Cemetery vs. Cypress Hills Cemetery

Amplification and correction.

I don't blame the book since the situation out there in cemetery land can be very confusing.

I relied on a sidebar in The Neighborhoods of Brooklyn for my information on Cypress Hills National Cemetery. The sidebar is titled: Cypress Hills Cemetery. The first sentence explains that Cypress Hills Cemetery was made a part of the National Cemetery System in 1862 and is the only national cemetery in New York City. After that it goes on to mention the famous people buried there, the ones I mentioned in the last posting.

The trouble is that the are two similarly named cemeteries: Cypress Hills National Cemetery, which I visited and photographed, and Cypress Hills Cemetery (without the "National"), which is further north, up the hill among the other cemeteries located in the area. See the map below; please click on it to make it readable.

It's even a bit more confusing than that because what became Cypress Hills National Cemetery was once a part of the original Cypress Hills Cemetery. The VA homepage for the cemetery gives some good background information.

Cypress Hills National Cemetery

And a further complication is that even if Cypress Hills Cemetery was the one meant, only two of the people mentioned are actually buried in that cemetery.

From two other valuable sources, Find a Grave and Jewish Cemeteries in the New York Metropolitan Area, I was able to piece together the following:

Mae West: Cypress Hills Cemetery
Jackie Robinson: Cypress Hills Cemetery
Emma Lazarus: Beth Olom Cemetery
Sholom Aleichem: Mt. Carmel Cemetery
Edward G. Robinson: Beth El Cemetery (New Union Field Cemetery)
Harry Houdini: Machpelah Cemetery

Lou Gehrig: nowhere near here. He is buried in Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, up in Westchester County.

Beth Olom Cemetery is not shown on the map but the address given for it is 2 Cypress Hills Street, so it may be a part of one of the others, perhaps Shearith Israel, but that's just a guess at the moment.

A few of shots of Salem Fields Cemetery along Jamaica Avenue.

Even along Jamaica Avenue they seemed to go on forever and I am only talking about only a few cemeteries along that street, I can only imagine what it looks like further north.

And I didn't even walk down the whole length of them, I cut down into Cypress Hills before I was even a quarter of the way down along Jamaica Avenue.

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