From the Times Ledger:
It’s the middle of August and the grass has turned brown in many of Flushing’s outdoor spaces from Kissena Park to Flushing Cemetery.
But the grass and foliage at the Olde Towne of Flushing Burial Ground, known until December 2009 as Martins Field, is in particular disrepair.
On Monday evening, piles of rotting, pungent vegetation greeted visitors just inside the ground’s gates, grass and shrubs were sunburned and dead, caution tape encircled most trees. Trash was strewn across a plaque honoring the 500 to 1,000 blacks and American Indians buried there in the 19th century after dying of small pox and cholera.
That state of disrepair does not sit well with Mandingo Tshaka, the Bayside community activist who was instrumental in getting the site renamed to reflect the honor of the people who were buried under what is now a city park. He is looking to encourage the city to take better care of the site.
“The Parks Department totally eradicated the history of my people and disregarded them and you’ll see it right out here in Flushing,” he said. “It’s time that this city stand up and do the right thing: Respect this cemetery.”