Brooklyn Green-Wood Cemetery, April 2020

One thing I am trying to do during this period of sheltering in place is not work too much, if at all, on Sundays. This can be difficult because I usually have a few projects in various stages of development at any given time. Typically on Sundays I put in at least a few hours researching or writing in my home office, or visiting some library or archive. Nonetheless, with no physical differentiation between home and work life–and no way to visit any restaurants, baseball games, or cultural institutions–one must buffer in some way the various roles in one’s life. One place that has thankfully remained open during the pandemic has been Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery. I have been visiting the cemetery for more than twenty years now, and while the 478-acre green space always has more visitors this time of year there are many more people in the park in our current moment. I mean a ton. This is a good thing to see. Still it is not so crowded that one cannot socially distance and remain safe.

I was talking to a neighbor the other day, who told me that a few weeks ago had been his first trip to Green-Wood. I explained the nature and development of garden cemeteries, which he was surprised to learn. There is a saying that graveyards are for the dead and cemeteries for the living. This has never been truer than in our current moment. People have been visiting Green-Wood Cemetery for 180+ years now through civil war and other public crises, but the place has hardly been more relevant than right now. I, and many thousands of other Brooklynites, have been thankful to have this place to visit in these times.