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Friday, 10 May 2013 08:22
From The New York Times ...
As shadows gathered in Woodlawn Cemetery in the Bronx on a recent evening, visitors began making their way deep into the park, past the Gilded Age mausoleums and onward to a circular grass plot with a stone obelisk in the center.
Darkness and silence reigned. Gradually the stars came out, projecting faint beams of reflected light into the tubes of more than a dozen telescopes set up around the perimeter of the lawn. It was showtime.
Click here to read William Grimes full article on Spring Starfest, a collaboration between Woodlawn Conservancy and the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York!
A Newtonian telescope at the Rolnick Observatory in Connecticut,
from The New York Times article.
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 14:54Exciting news for philatelists -- that is, stamp collectors: the United States Postal Service will be joining us on Thursday, May 23rd, at 10AM for our Admiral Farragut gravesite designation ceremony. Why? Because the USPS will be issuing the Civil War 1863 - Siege of Vicksburg Forever Stamp. Why at Woodlawn? Because Admiral Farragut was integral in securing victory for the Union Cause at Vicksburg.
Tuesday, 07 May 2013 11:42Woodlawn is the final resting place of Admiral David Glasgow Farragut, the nation's first admiral. When the remains of Admiral Farragut were brought to The Woodlawn Cemetery, over 10,000 people marched in his funeral procession. So why can't we find any memorabilia from the funeral? Interestingly, not a single photo has been found of this incredible ceremony.
Among those represented
at the Admiral's funeral:
Members of the County
and City Government:
Present and past Mayors
of New York, Board of Commissioners,
Sheriffs and Deputies,
Judges and Clerks,
Fire and Police Department,
Board of Education,
and Inspectors and Trustees of Schools.
New York State Government:
Governors of New York,
Dept. of State, and Members
of the Senate and Assembly.
United States Government:
The President of the United States
and Members of the Cabinet.
Soldiers and Sailors:
Grand Army of the Republic, New York State National Guard,
and Officers and Sailors who served under Admiral Farragut.
Also, the Society of the Cincinnati, the Chamber of Commerce,
Harbor Masters, and Foreign Ministers and Consuls.
Wednesday, 01 May 2013 10:22
Bronx Week is on the horizon! There is perhaps no better way to explore the "best of the Bronx" than with this curated week of programs and events. As Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., wrote, in his kick-off letter:
"[There will be] great events for Bronx Week this year that the whole community can take part in and enjoy, including a film festival and historical tours of the borough’s neighborhoods."
And when he says neighborhoods, that includes Woodlawn and the cemetery! Join us on Saturday, May 11th, to visit memorials to those who built the Bronx (click here for details).
BP Diaz continues on to say that "Bronx Week celebrates the best of the borough: our veterans, mothers, seniors, youth, business leaders, volunteers, artists, cinematographers, civic leaders and hometown greats. It is a week devoted to the people who matter most to this borough—people just like you."
This Bronx Week, get out there, meet fellow Bronxites, and explore!
Bronx Week is organized by the Borough President's Office, the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, and The Bronx Tourism Council.
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 08:30On any given Saturday, in the early morning hours, Woodlawn belongs to the birds. And on one very specific Saturday (April 27th), Woodlawn was the domain of urban birders!
Tuesday, 30 April 2013 07:23At Woodlawn, stories of love and devotion live on long after individuals are laid to rest. We revisited these tales of amour on a walking tour in April, having had to cancel our tour originally scheduled for the Valentine's Day season. The wait was worth it -- we couldn't have asked for more pleasant weather!
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 14:06Today, the Conservancy's Director of Programs, Cristiana Pena, joined the Bronx Rotary Club for their regular Tuesday meeting. The subject: Woodlawn! Held at Sammy's Shrimp Box on City Island (a Bronx institution!), the Rotarians were a welcoming bunch, eager to learn about the ways in which we celebrate the history, culture, art, and natural resources of the Cemetery.
Neon by day: The neon sign of Sammy's Shrimp Box restaurant,
during our meeting with the Bronx Rotary Club.
Monday, 01 April 2013 13:41Last month's stargazing event with the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York was a tremendous success. From within the darkened gates of The Woodlawn Cemetery, we spied the belt of Orion and the nebula of the same name. Jupiter and its four moons could be seen just west of the illuminated moon.
Click on the image above to watch the clip, or click here.
Tuesday, 26 March 2013 00:00In 1889, with nothing but a small handbag in tow, Nellie Bly embarked on a daring adventure around the world. On the same day, in the opposite direction, Elizabeth Bisland set off on the same mission: to travel around the globe faster than anyone had ever done before, including the fictional Phileas Fogg from Jules Verne's Around the World in Eighty Days.
Monday, 25 March 2013 10:18Last week, The New York Times published "Art and History Among the Dead," a look by reporter Jane Levere at how historic cemeteries -- and The Woodlawn Cemetery, in particular -- are exploring and sharing their historical, cultural and natural resources in museum-like ways.
Photographer Benjamin Petit stands in the courtyard doorway
at the restored Harkness mausoleum.
The impressive door of the Huntington mausoleum,
whose interior stained glass was featured in the Times' article.
Sunday, 17 March 2013 00:00
On every holiday, we break out the songs you only sing once a year. This Sunday, March 17th, many New Yorkers will be trying to remember the words to “When Irish Eyes are Smiling,” a classic ballad written by Chauncey Olcott.
The Buffalo native also wrote another St.Patrick’s Day classic: “My Wild Irish Rose.” The two popular tunes earned Olcott the honor of being inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.
Olcott was a founder of ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers which was established in 1914 to protect the rights of performing artists.
Olcott was laid to rest in the Hickory Knoll Plot of The Woodlawn Cemetery in 1932.
*The Woodlawn section of the Bronx, immediately to the north of the cemetery, is often refered to as "Little Ireland," due to the significant number Irish and Irish American families who call the neighborhood home.
Photo: Chauncey Olcott, photographed in 1890. Via
Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
Today, March 15th, marks the 100th anniversary of the closing of the International Exhibition of Modern Art, better known as the “Armory Show.” The exhibition was controversial in its time, introducing New Yorkers to abstract works which inspired young artists to leave the world of realism and explore cutting-edge paintings and sculptures created by European artists.
So what happened to those who contributed to this radical movement?
Walt Kuhn, one of the curators for the show, became known for his portraits of circus performers and vaudeville stars. Italian born painter, Joseph Stella, who painted the iconic image of the Brooklyn Bridge (you can see the painting at the Whitney Museum) retired to the Bronx. Alexander Archipenko, influenced by Picasso and the Cubist movement, settled in Bearsville, New York, where he opened a school of art.
These three influential talents are memorialized at The Woodlawn Cemetery. Walt Kuhn rests under a boulder not far from the grave of Miles Davis. Right around the corner is a sculpture, “Premonition,” by Angelica, the wife of Archipenko. It serves as the couple’s gravestone. Stella, known for images of the industrial age, is entombed in a traditional mausoleum owned by his parents.
Remember those who brought exciting art to New York by visiting Woodlawn!
Images, clockwise from left: Alexander Archipenko's "Salomé"; Walt Kuhn; "Still Life," by Joseph Stella.
Thursday, 14 March 2013 09:21
Meet Nellie Bly.
Born in small-town Pennsylvania, Bly would skyrocket to fame as a pioneering, self-made female journalist who captured America’s imagination by defying its gender stereotypes. All this in a time of Victorian Age propriety, when the few women reporters working received assignments more preoccupied with high society.
Bly was a scrappy, ambitious newspaperwoman who sought out the most sensational stories and, to quote one blogger, the "ultimate historical journalism crush."
Bly and her reporting contemporary, Elizabeth Bisland, are the subject of the newly published Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland’s History-Making Race Around the World, by Matthew Goodman. The book tracks the two women as they departed from New York, in opposite directions, with one goal in mind: to travel solo around the world, and to do so fast than anyone, real or fictitious, had ever done so before.
Their inspiration: author Jules Verne’s Phileas Fogg, who famously -- though fictionally -- circumnavigated the globe over the course of 80 days in the classic novel Around the World in Eighty Days.
Join the Conservancy on Sunday, March 24th, as author Matthew Goodman describes his own journey retracing the boundary-breaking work of Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland.
To RSVP for our book talk + signing, click here.
Tuesday, 12 March 2013 18:32
"Tour guides are like snowflakes -- no two are ever alike!"
So were informed our newest volunteer tour guide recruits at our most recent training session. Our day-long class, led by seasoned cemetery guides J. Joseph Edgette and Rich Sauers, covered everything from researching and preparing a tour script to the logistics of plotting a route and timing one's tour.
But the most important thing Joe and Rich impressed upon our guides-in-training: be yourself and have fun! Every guide brings a different set of skills and unique personality to their tour. Study, study, study your material and then ... have fun sharing your knowledge with our visitors!
Photo: J. Joseph Edgette, left, and Rich Sauers, right, discuss the interpretation of
the F.W. Woolworth mausoleum with our volunteer tour guide trainees.
Friday, 08 March 2013 12:26
You win some, you lose some. Today, Mother Nature wins!
THERE WILL BE NO STARGAZING EVENT TODAY, MARCH 8TH.
Inclement weather has forced us to postpone our stargazing session, originally scheduling for today from 7PM to 10PM. Our friends at the Amateur Astronomers Association of New York have been carefully tracking the skies and evaluating predictions for cloud transparency and reflectivity. In doing so, they’ve determined that the overcast will preclude any successful observing tonight.
The response to stargazing at Woodlawn has been so tremendous; a secondary date has already been set! MARK YOUR CALENDARS for Saturday, March 23rd at 7PM.
Same logistics apply: enter via the Jerome Avenue entrance to Woodlawn Cemetery; gates will remain open from 6:30PM to 7:30PM for entry. Gates will reopen at 10PM, when observing concludes.
Please watch your email (and Facebook, if you learned about the event that way) for new updates as our alternate date approaches!
Photo: The Webb obelisk in Oak Hill plot, where stargazing will take place on March 23rd, covered in a pristine blanket of fresh snow.