Friday, January 20, 2017

Is it time for Newtown Playground to be recognized as a burial ground?

From the Queens Chronicle:

Lifelong Elmhurst resident Marialena Giampino grew up hearing stories about the neighborhood’s settlers and how they are buried underneath Newtown Playground at the intersection of 56th Avenue and 92nd Street.

She thinks it’s about time the city and community officially recognize the history below the slides and climbing equipment.

“The goal is to get some type of memorial or plaque commemorating the people buried there,” Giampino said. “To the normal person who maybe isn’t from Elmhurst, they don’t know what’s there.”

According to a 1932 city report on cemeteries, provided to the Chronicle by Giampino, at least 86 people were buried at what was called Old Newtown Cemetery.

The first funeral took place in 1729, about 75 years after the neighborhood was founded and more than four decades prior to the American Revolution.

Some of the neighborhood’s most prominent residents were buried there, with entire families interred alongside each other on the site.

Eventually, the cemetery served as a potter’s field — the final resting place for unknown or indigent residents — until about 1880, with the Parks Department taking over the location in 1917.

A decade later, the surviving headstones were all laid flat and covered with soil so playground equipment and a drinking fountain could be installed.

Giampino brought up the site’s history to Community Board 4, of which she is a member, last week, saying now would be the perfect time to memorialize those who are buried there.


Anonymous said...

When will the progressives decide to build over all the cemeteries in the borough?

Jerry Rotondi, former QHS trustee said...

Yes, IT IS high time!
No respect for the dead reflects no respect for the living either!
Queens politicians, by and large, have demonstrated little respect for its history when compared to neighboring Brooklyn, etc.
They do respect the campaign contributions given to them by developers , who often erase its historic buildings to build their mega monsters. Therefore, they are most eager to do their bidding.
Flushing...A MOST HISTORIC OLD a prime example of the wholesale rape of history.
A boon is granted its residents, however, laughable "Freedom Mile" markers instead.
Mere gravestones for structures abused or demolished.
From the crooked, shameful Donald Manes, to the present borough president, Melinda Katz, beeps have run roughshod over our history.
The office exists mainly to further overdevelopment without consideration for failing infrastructure.
Money is the grease of political advancement and there are many greedy political hands outstretched to be bought by the NYC real estate industry.

Anonymous said...

A bend over backwards and frontwards butt boy for his developer clients.
Oh....are there any of you who do not know that Don Paulo mafioso Vallone, is a developers' lobbyist?
He supported Joey "d'or" Franco 's (according to the New York Times, a reputed Gambino crime family associate) Whitehouse restaurant expansion into a huge catering hall after his former restaurant Cafe On The Green was shut down.
La Famiglia Di Vallone...tutti Mafiosi politico!

Anonymous said...

We can't let hallowed ground get in the way of progress, it's not the Barbarian way. (Apologies to sarc.)

Anonymous said...

Settlers were also are buried underneath that now mess in Maspeth.
Nobody wanted to see it, had the experts looked or scanned where the trees were they would have found anomaly's in the soil were people were buried.
The wooden caskets and people would be dirt in the roots by now and likley dumped unnoticed as dirt and tree scraps when the developer cleared the land.

I know without question I saw pieces of busted up rock with letters in there when we would buy pot at the apartment complex steps then go to the "Maspeth Woods" to drink, smoke pot and play cassette tapes of Pink Floyd. An old priest who lived in the house across the street also scolded and told us. Note: We were part of a neighborhood watch gang called the "Boogieman" never left trash or vandalized things. The name came from the groups ability to appearing out of nowhere in big number because we walked the tracks the already useless 104 didnt patrol.

Its clear nobody wanted to find graves, I think some Shinnicock Indian boss even confirmed this. Again nobody wanted to hear it, called him and us "crazy, or old stoned hippies" Newtown will face the same fate because like Crowley Vallone is a split tongued snake with special interests and 'connections" to people with big CA$H

Anonymous said...

would love to see the headstones, coffins and bones unearthed. How disrespectful that they used the headstones to fill in the cemetery.
All of the NYC parks were at one time cemeteries.

Anonymous said...

Not sure if you would see coffins, bones or even garments after 200 years.
Back in those days simple thin pine boxes, cotton clothes no embalming.

I remember some years ago the dug some of the oldest graves near Christ the King, everything looked like dirt and mulch like stuff. You could not make out anything. A worker did say you could make out a shoes or belt buckles and other metal things if you looked real hard and sifted through.
In deeper then 10 feet you hit water

ron s said...

Despite the sad neglect and lack of concern from the past, we could at least put a plaque or memorial there. Do something....

Anonymous said...

illegal immigrants do not care about American history, they have disdain for it.

Anonymous said...

My ancestor James Way, from Somerset, England, was buried there, beneath the tennis courts, as near as we can tell! As an early Quaker convert, he probably had no stone marker; they were viewed as excessive vanity! Do me a favor when you go by the courts, and give him a shout out from his descendants--thanks 16x great Grandpa!