Our first stop was the Green-Wood Cemetery, a historic cemetery in the Sunset Park section of Brooklyn, and a must for Brooklyn fans and New York history enthusiasts. It's a huge, rambling, serene park, where many famous people are buried, and with monuments, statues and tombs designed by famous artists and architects. One part of Green-Wood is the highest land point in Brooklyn, from which you can see New York Harbor and Manhattan skyline. As you walk around, you can often glimpse the Statue of Liberty in the distance.
I ordered some self-guided walking tour books for the occasion. If you ever visit, I highly recommend picking up at least one of these books. The cemetery is vast, there are more than 50,000 monuments, and you would never find the interesting bits on your own.
In fact, if you check out that link with the books, the cover of the first one shows the brownstone entrance gates, built in 1861. The second cover is a statue of Minerva. If you stand beside Minerva and follow the angle of her salute, you will see that she is hailing Lady Liberty across the Harbor.
Because the cemetery dates back to the mid-19th Century, the honor roll of burials is full of Industrial Era magnates and robber barons. Some of them are: F.A.O. Schwarz, the German immigrant who founded what became the world-famous toy store; Louis Tiffany; Elias Howe, inventor of the sewing machine; Thomas Underwood of typewriter fame; Eberhard Faber of pencil fame (the first man to put an eraser at the end of the pencil); Horace Greeley, the progressive newspaper magnate; James Bennett, his opposite, the Rupert Murdoch of his day; De Witt Clinton, who did just about everything in New York State, including having the Erie Canal built; Nathaniel Currier and James Ives; William Marcy "Boss" Tweed; and Al Capone's boss. This is a very small and partial list.
Our favorite grave was definitely that of Henry Chadwick, "the father of baseball". As the inventor of the scoring system and the box score, Chadwick is clearly Allan's spiritual godfather. Fans of baseball history (and cool trivia) can read Allan's excellent post about Chadwick. For the rest of you, here are some pictures of Chadwick's monument, placed at Green-Wood by Charles Ebbets, long-time owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers, who is buried nearby.
Here's another cool monument from Green-Wood: to Fannie the Dog. I hope you can read the inscription.
This was a terrific historical walking tour. We both like cemeteries, I'm into Victorian-era history, and it's a beautiful park with great views.
After our long walk, we headed to DiFara, which I blogged about here. I can't say enough about Dominick DeMarco. I have such respect for this man, crafting pizza by hand in his tiny shop on Avenue J. The pizza is incredible, but we don't travel more than an hour by subway just for the pizza. To eat at DiFara is to experience simple, authentic greatness. Plus this is how I bribed Allan to do the walking tour with me. He enjoyed the walk, but with the lure of DiFara, I could have gotten just about anything.
A Brooklyn pizza joint, circa 1964.
Basil, rosemary and oregano growing in the windows. He grows his own.
Grating chunks of Romano by hand. That's a huge piece of Romano cheese to the right of the grater. Check out that ancient cash register.
The man himself, Mr. Dominick DeMarco.
A photo on the wall of Dom when he first opened DiFara.
The walls are adorned with framed rave reviews, including a terrific picture of Dom on the cover of the Village Voice, for their Best Italian Restaurant story.
After pizza, we headed to Park Slope, where we used to live. In my backpack were little ziplock bags with handfuls of ashes: some of the remains of Gypsy and Clyde. Allan wanted to scatter them in Prospect Park. So I am not the only romantic around here.
After that, a walk down our old street (which looks a lot like this and this), a couple of beers, and back home.