Day 881


Day 881

Giuseppe Petrosino

May 29th, 2014



From a previous post:

Joe Petrosino was the city's first Italian-American police detective. Standing a feisty (and chunky) 5-foot-3, he was a prominent leader in the fight against Italian-American organized crime around the turn of the 20th century. This role eventually cost him his life when he was assassinated in 1909 while on a mission in Sicily, making him the only NYC police officer killed in the line of duty outside the US. While his name has largely been forgotten in the years since, he was beloved by the New Yorkers of his time: an estimated 200,000 people turned out to watch his funeral procession (photo) make its way through the streets of Manhattan and Queens!
Lieutenant Petrosino is buried here in the newer sections of Calvary Cemetery.

Day 881



Day 881

Dry ice to the left

May 29th, 2014



Compressed gases to the right

Day 881

Old Calvary

May 29th, 2014



This is the original section of Calvary Cemetery, with the Kosciuszko Bridge visible in the background. Calvary is home to a truly staggering number of dead folks: somewhere between 1,750,000 and 3,000,000.

Day 881

Always In Our Hearts

May 29th, 2014



Catherine Messina, 1928-1953, Beloved Sister

Veronica A. Byrne, 1943-2009, Beloved Wife, Mom, Sister & Nana

Day 881

Calvary Park

May 29th, 2014



A city park fully contained within a private cemetery — weird! From the Parks Department's website:

On April 28, 1863, the City of New York purchased the land for this park from the Trustees of St. Patrick's Cathedral and granted Parks jurisdiction over it. The land transaction charter stated that Parks would use the land as a burial ground for soldiers who fought for the Union during the Civil War (1861-65) and died in New York hospitals. Parks is responsible for the maintenance of the Civil War monument, the statuary, and the surrounding vegetation. Twenty-one Roman Catholic Civil War Union soldiers are buried here. The last burial took place in 1909.
I had never been to this part of the cemetery before, but the four statues at the base of the monument (individual photos about halfway down this page) looked very familiar. It turns out that they're identical (albeit with some missing pieces) to the figures on the Soldiers’ Monument at Green-Wood Cemetery (photos: 1, 2, 3, 4), as well as other Civil War monuments around the country.

Day 881

Alsop family cemetery

May 29th, 2014



This tiny family burial ground, with its first interment dating back to 1691, has been swallowed up, and is entirely surrounded, by Calvary Cemetery (aerial view), making it a little enclave of Protestantism in a vast Catholic necropolis. This brings to mind the old Betts family burial ground, now encompassed by the Jewish Mount Zion Cemetery.

Day 881

Michael Walsh

May 29th, 2014



Mr. Walsh, a.k.a. Mickey Welch, was the third Major League pitcher to win 300 games, the first pinch hitter in Major League history (he struck out), and one of two baseball Hall of Famers buried here in Calvary (the other is Wee Willie Keeler).

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Al Smith

May 29th, 2014



The Happy Warrior with the blue moustache

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Mosaic headstone

May 29th, 2014



Antonio Tabacchi

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Tess Gardella

May 29th, 2014



A white (blackfaced) Aunt Jemima, though not that Aunt Jemima

Day 881

Stephen Brodie

May 29th, 2014



Steve Brodie became famous in 1886 as the first person to survive a jump off the Brooklyn Bridge, but it's far from clear that he ever actually jumped. Many believed he had someone throw a dummy off the bridge while he swam out toward the spot where it landed, surfacing near a boat that pulled him out of the water. Whether or not he really did the deed, he took full advantage of the celebrity that came his way as a result, opening a successful bar that traded on his reputation and starring in a play that climaxed with him leaping off the bridge to save a girl's life. And his name lived on long after he did. In 1949, almost half a century after his passing, he was the subject of a Bugs Bunny cartoon. Watch it here!

(Curiously, an 1886 NY Times account of his supposed feat described him, without any further elaboration, as a "long-distance pedestrian".)

UPDATE: As the Fensk pointed out, his wife's name was, quite appropriately, Bridget!

Day 881

Calvary Cemetery chapel

May 29th, 2014



The September 1909 issue of Popular Mechanics called this the "most remarkable mortuary chapel in America". (Flip back one page in the magazine and you'll see two photos captioned "Largest Horse Ever Cast in Bronze—Its Interior Used as a Banquet Hall".)

Day 881

The Scannell brothers

May 29th, 2014



Florence and John Scannell were a couple of thuggish Tammany Hall organizers working in the dirty world of 19th-century New York City politics. Florence was running for alderman in 1869 when he was shot during a barroom brawl. He won the election but died from his wound several months later. John vowed vengeance on Thomas Donohue (or Donoghue), the man he believed to have pulled the trigger.

After a few failed attempts, John succeeded in killing Donohue in 1872 with a gunshot to the face. (He had shot him in the chest on a previous occasion, to no avail.) He was then arrested and held in the Tombs, where he reconnected with an old friend who was also being charged with murder: Richard Croker, the future head of Tammany Hall. John was acquitted by reason of insanity and committed to a lunatic asylum, where he was held for a mere few months before being released. The NY Times had more or less predicted this outcome in a sarcasm-laced editorial published shortly after John's arrest:

When he is tried, a number of doctors will be brought up to swear that Donoghue died of the measles, complicated with the horse disease, and then other doctors will swear that Scannell is and always was insane, and then two or three women will be brought into Court and testify that in all the relations of life Scannell is a pink of propriety . . . and two years hence Scannell will be run by Tammany for Mayor. Let the poor man go at once. Why subject him even to the temporary inconvenience of a trial!
He never ran for mayor, but he did indeed begin a political ascent after his release, rising to a powerful leadership position within Tammany Hall, thanks in no small part to his friendship with Croker that had been strengthened by their time together in the clink. (They were sometimes referred to by their associates as "The Big Two".) John then served as fire commissioner ("a lucrative patronage position") for a couple of years in the mid-1890s and was later appointed the first fire commissioner of Greater New York, the expanded five-borough city that was created in 1898. It only took him a few years in that post to be indicted for conspiring to defraud the city in the purchasing of supplies for the department.

Serving as a lovely grace note, the final paragraph of John's 1918 NY Times obituary reports that he was sued for $15,000 in 1907, at the age of 67, by the daughter of one of his housekeepers for "kissing her three times without consent".

John erected the pictured monument at his brother's gravesite (and his own future gravesite) in 1914, some 45 years after Florence was shot. There's a life-size statue of Florence standing atop the monument, but the scene you see above, despite the dedication to Florence right beneath it, actually depicts John and his family. There's a second, more curious image carved on another side: labeled simply "The Abbott", it shows a horse standing beside a creek.

It turns out that The Abbott (or Abbot) was a renowned racing horse and one of John's most prized and beloved possessions, for which he had paid a record-breaking price shortly after the horse set the world record for the fastest mile in 1900. The Abbott is not, as far as I can tell, buried here at Calvary, but John apparently felt he deserved a place on the family monument nonetheless.

Day 881

Bags o’ pee-pee?

May 29th, 2014



I think they just might be-be, even though that one looks awfully dark. (The empty coffee cups lend some credence to this theory.) Altogether there were four liquid-filled ziplocs sitting here on the desolate sidewalk between Calvary Cemetery and the Long Island Expressway service road. I didn't have the guts to inspect the lumpy-looking contents of a plastic shopping bag sitting next to one of the cups.

Day 881

Kosciuszko Bridge

May 29th, 2014



Carrying the BQE across Newtown Creek, this oft-congested crossing is due to be replaced in the relatively near future by a cable-stayed bridge that will look something like this. You can see some of the other bridge designs that were considered here.

Day 881

Outta service

May 29th, 2014



This parking lot (Street View) is apparently used to store FDNY vehicles that are being decommissioned or have been damaged in accidents.

Day 881

Life’ll wear ya down

May 29th, 2014



These ladies appear to have been stationed out here since at least September 2013.

Day 881

Walk the lines

May 29th, 2014