It Isn’t Pretty

I thought the snow storm we had a few weeks ago was pretty severe. With all that wet snow, many wonderful trees lost limbs. Discussing that storm with our Superintendent of the Grounds, Art Presson, a few days after it struck, we marveled at the fact that all of the falling limbs then had somehow not damaged any monuments. But the storm that swept through Green-Wood this past weekend showed no such respect. I have not seen anything like this damage in the 25 years I’ve visited Green-Wood.

Here is part of a tree that came down near Fort Hamilton Parkway. I photographed this same tree last fall–it had great bright yellow leaves. In fact, here’s one of the photographs I took of this maple. You can see the limb that came down, stretching off to the right in this fall foliage photograph. The tree wasn’t much to look at, except in the fall, when it really shone. This was quite a large limb that fell and it looks like the tree will have to come down; fortunately, though, it doesn’t seem to have damaged any monuments.

That can’t be said for the tree that fell on this very nice pink granite monument. As you can see, the tree knocked down the shaft of the monument–there it is on the right, broken in two. The cap is on the ground to the left. Hopefully our great restoration team can put this back together again.

Here’s another sad sight. This pine tree lost many limbs in our recent snow storm. But that was nothing compared to this. This half of the pine tree fell, landing amidst several monuments, but, as far as I could tell, did not damage any of them. Here are several monuments, temporarily surrounded by pine boughs.

This large branch knocked this obelisk off of its base–that branch now sitting on the base looks like the one that did the damage. This, I hope, is repairable.

Update: Today, March 22, I was told by our Superintendent of the Grounds, Art Presson, that, in addition to the damage to monuments you see in these photographs, 123 monuments were knocked over in this storm. However, through the diligent efforts of our workers, those 123 monuments have all been put back in place, just a week after the damage occurred.

And, sadly, during the storm, our nesting Great Horned Owls lost their egg–it fell from the nest and was smashed. I am told by Marge Raymond, our resident bird-watcher, that, had this egg hatched, it would have been the first recorded hatching of a Great Horned Owl in Brooklyn.

What can you say? Nature is not quite the benign force that we hope it to be.

But there is always hope. Yesterday, as I went out to photograph this damage, I saw these daffodils in bloom.

They are against the cemetery’s offices, and the brownstone absorbs the sun’s heat, creating a microclimate. Other daffodils at Green-Wood aren’t close to being ready to bloom. But Nature, even in the wake of this sort of damage it had just caused, offered us a bit of its beauty.

If you would like to make a donation to our cleanup and restoration efforts, it would be greatly appreciated. You can send your check to The Green-Wood Historic Fund, 500 25th Street, Brooklyn, NY 11232, go to our website by clicking here, or call our offices at 718-210-3080 to donate.

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