The Assassination of Mayor William J. Gaynor

One hundred years ago today, August 9, New York City’s Mayor William J. Gaynor was about to embark on a well-earned vacation cruise when he was shot by a New York City watchman who recently had been fired from his job. Here’s the dramatic photograph of Gaynor’s wounding, taken just seconds after a shot had … Read more

“Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child”

Two permanent residents are tied for the most asked about by visitors to Green-Wood Cemetery: Leonard Bernstein and Jean-Michel Basquiat. Both were fascinating figures. Now a new movie has been released on the Brooklyn-born Basquiat, graffiti artist and Andy Warhol protege who died in 1988. The movie, “Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child,” is reviewed in … Read more

Like A Bird On The Wire

Just last week, I heard from Jane, the second great-granddaughter of Leon Javelli (or Giavelli). Jane had done a great deal of research on him, and she generously shared that with me. It turns out that Leon is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery. And, just as good, he has a very interesting story. Javelli was born … Read more

Fashion in Funerals

Green-Wood has 561,000 individuals interred across its grounds. Some are fascinating; some, not so much. Of the many characters I have come across in my research on Green-Wood’s permanent residents, few can compete with Isaac Hull Brown when it comes to fascinating lives. Brown was featured in an article this past Monday in The New … Read more

Saving the Children

Stephanie Carey has been a Green-Wood Historic Fund volunteer since as long as we’ve had volunteers–almost 8 years now. She comes to our Research Days with her husband Mark, and even has brought her daughters along to help out. Stephanie works in New Jersey as a public health professional: she is in charge of¬†communicable disease … Read more

Long May She Wave!

Just a few weeks ago I led a tour of Green-Wood Cemetery for the Woodhaven Historical Society. At one of the stops on the tour, a very nice woman asked me if I knew of a monument at Green-Wood that had a flag pole. I mentioned the monument to Samuel Chester Reid, War of 1812 … Read more

A Reb and a Yank

A few nights ago, I was working my way through forms that have been filled out several months ago by our Green-Wood Historic Fund Civil War Project volunteers. The volunteers go through the cemetery’s chronological books, recording the vital statistics (name, place of birth, place of death, last residence, cause of death, and age at … Read more

Duncan Phyfe: Legendary Cabinetmaker

Few names are as big in American furniture making as Duncan Phyfe (1768-1854). And, of course, Phyfe is one of Green-Wood Cemetery’s permanent residents. For generations, dealers and collectors have tried to attribute American furniture made in the first half of the 19th century to Phyfe. His name was magic–it meant the best. Above is … Read more

Putting His Stamp On An Era

William Surrey Hart¬†(1865-1946), star of silent screen westerns, is interred at Green-Wood Cemetery, his final resting place marked by a small granite gravestone. A native of Newburgh, N.Y., Hart lived with his family in the Dakota territory, came East to work for the Post Office in New York City, then studied acting. His New York … Read more

Bannerman’s Castle Continues to Crumble

Francis Bannerman was a leading dealer in military surplus after the Civil War. He owned an island in the Hudson River, where he stored his huge stock in a castle that he built there. There are many wonderful images of Bannerman Castle online. And here’s the website for the Banneman Castle Trust. We have written … Read more