Many Cemeteries Damaged, but Green-Wood Bore the Brunt of the Storm

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Obelisks that stood upright for generations at Green-Wood Cemetery, perpetuating the memories of the Strong and Hallett and Wallace families, hit the ground at crazy angles. The angel guarding the Lloyd family plot lost its head, an arm and the tip of its wing. The headstone of an 18-year-old boy, overturned by a falling pin oak, rests upside down beside its pedestal. “Thy will be done,” it says.

Hurricane Sandy ran roughly through cemeteries around New York City, but it devastated Green-Wood in Brooklyn, a designated National Historic Landmark. High winds destroyed or badly damaged at least 292 of the mature trees that lend so much beauty to the picturesque grounds — oak, maple, beech, linden, pine, tulip, cherry and Bradford pear.

Because many trees and branches remain where they fell on Oct. 29, cemetery officials have not had the chance to assess how many monuments, headstones and ornamental fences were crushed, shattered or overturned. Certainly, dozens were damaged...

Richard J. Moylan, the president of Green-Wood, said he had never witnessed such destruction in his 40 years at the cemetery. He estimated the clean-up would cost at least $500,000. Much of the clearing work is being performed by the cemetery’s own grounds crews, who are working six-day weeks. Mr. Moylan said he did not know yet how he would pay all the recovery costs.

The storm apparently spared the resting places of Green-Wood’s most famous occupants — Leonard Bernstein, Louis Comfort Tiffany and William M. Tweed among them — though a falling London plane came close to the grave of the artist Jean-Michel Basquiat and a beech fell to earth not far from the grave of William Poole, the 19th-century gang leader better known as Bill the Butcher...


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