Green-Wood Cemetery

In honor of Dia de los Muertos and All Souls Day, this week's feature is cemeteries. Some of my favorite places to take photographs are cemeteries. They are often beautifully landscaped and the monuments are beautiful as well. They are generally quiet and serene places to wander or sit and contemplate.

Green-Wood Cemetery, on the Brooklyn-Queens border is the first cemetery I ever visited. I had a friend in San Francisco whose hobby, for lack of a better word, was death. While many found this weird or unsettling, I admired the fact that she studied so fervently the very topic most of us choose to avoid thinking about. Death is the one thing we all have in common, after all.

This friend came to visit me in December 1998, a few months after I moved to New York. Green-Wood was at the top of her list of places to go, besides the usual -- Times Square, Central Park and the Statue of Liberty.

I learned a lot that day. For example, she pointed out the similarities between Green-Wood and Central Park. Before Central Park was constructed, Green-Wood was one of the places people went on Sundays to walk and enjoy nature. Indeed, it's apparent that Green-Wood served as an inspiration for Central Park, from its winding paths and fixtures to its monuments and statues.

It was my first visit to a cemetery. My friend K called it "Visiting the Majority." As we walked through Green-Wood, I saw many familiar names of buildings, streets and businesses -- Schermerhorn, Vanderbilt, Morgan. Green-Wood is a veritable who's who or, rather, who was who.

The main entrance to Green-Wood

A family plot

Detail of another family plot. My father passed away about 5 months after this visit to Green-Wood.
I was grateful his funeral was not my first time at a cemetery or the first time I thought about death.

There were many obelisks, but this one seemed to rival the Washington Monument.

I especially liked the ornate signs on the paths.

All images were shot with a very disappointing Pentax point & shoot digital, without filters or editing.

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