Sunday, July 27, 2008

Weird Pictures From Sylvan Cemetery In Staten Island

So yesterday Alison and I went to Princeton Record Exchange in NJ (a pretty bad ass store) and one the way home stopped in Staten Island. There's this weird abandoned cemetery there called Sylvan Cemetery. From what I can find online, it started as a private/family burying ground and then became a public cemetery for a while. It seems to be made up primarily of the graves of two families, The Deckers and The Cannons. And one point it supposedly transferred over to a local church who, without funding, couldn't afford the upkeep and it's since fallen into abandonement and disrepair and not much has been done to it since the 1920s. Currently there is a new sign up (it wasn't there the first time we drove by it a couple of months ago) and someone has cut back some of the brush and grass around most of the graves in addition to putting down some cedar chips to create a possible parking lot? It's hard to tell. Someone's been trying to clean it up a bit at least.

Regardless, it's a very strange area and there's a simultaneously sad and eerie vibe to the whole place.

If you don't mind scrolling down about half way through the page, you can read an interesting (albeit fairly incomplete and seven years out of date) history of the cemetery and how it came to be abandoned here. There's also some interesting information about the cemetery and the surrounding area on the Forgotten NY page. Here's another article on how volunteers have started work on cleaning up the cemetery. That last article was written less than a month ago which would explain why, the last time we drove past the area, there wasn't any work done to it and why the work that has been done to it since looks so fresh. They've still got a ways to go before restoring the land to any sort of proper burial ground. I'm kind of glad I got some pictures before it is all cleaned up though. It's much stranger in its current state than it would be all spiffed up.

A few pictures...

Some of the pictures are a little washed out. It's dark in there even during the day time and I had to use a flash when I didn't really want to. A lot of the graves are really old an in terrible shape. Some of them are also very small (if you look you can see how some of them aren't much bigger than the leaves around them) and you can trip over them if you're not careful. Years of partying has resulted in some odd litter, mostly beer cans and stuff, as well as a fair amount of vandalism.

The last four... wierd how stuff like this just gets forgotten about and falls into disrepair, especially when you consider that, although SI is the most remote of the five burroughs, this is still technically part of NYC proper.

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