Permanent New Yorkers: A Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of New York by Judi Culbertson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was the second of Culbertson and Randall’s “Permanent” series, exploring the permanent residents of Paris, California, Italy, and London. This one feels like it covers a vast amount of territory, from offering multiple tours of Green-Wood and Woodlawn to capsule suggestions of quick trips to the Hartsdale Canine Cemetery, Belmont Racetrack, and the Quaker Cemetery of Brooklyn.
Some of the choices are strange. There’s a scant paragraph about the New York Marble Cemetery, which holds the remnants of 40 cemeteries that were destroyed to make room for the City’s growth. It makes me wonder if the authors found the cemetery closed when they visited, as I did in June. Strawberry Fields in Central Park rates more description, even though the authors admit that John Lennon’s ashes aren’t buried there. The Hart’s Island Potter’s Field is included for the sake of completeness, I suppose, even though I’d be surprised if most tourists could or would want to try to visit it.
Which may be the split between the authors’ intention for this book and the way I want to use it. It’s not a guidebook, in that it doesn’t include cemetery addresses, opening hours, or suggestions for how to visit the cemeteries listed inside. It doesn’t include enough photographs of the graves or graveyards and spends page after page on biographies of people like Judy Garland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Malcolm X. Maybe it’s meant to be an armchair travel book.
My quest for the perfect New York City cemetery guide continues — but this was an excellent reference to read in the hotel room between cemetery explorations.
You can find used copies at Amazon here: Permanent New Yorkers: A Biographical Guide to the Cemeteries of New York.
Click on the Book Review category in the blog’s right column to see all my cemetery book reviews.
Cemeteries of New York on Cemetery Travel:
Cemetery of the Week #11: General Grant National Monument
Cemetery of the Week #17: Sleepy Hollow Cemetery
Cemetery of the Week #33: The Old Dutch Burying Ground
Cemetery of the Week #41: Trinity Churchyard
Cemetery of the Week #53: Green-Wood Cemetery
Cemetery of the Week #65: the African Burial Ground