What is Citynoise?..... Today's posts..... This month..... Recent Comments..... Contact..... RSS Feed.... Post your own Citynoise.....  

browse by city

Brooklyn, NY (1195)
New York, NY (1031)
Toronto, ON (946)
Montreal, QC (433)
London, UK (316)
Houston, TX (297)
Oakland, CA (252)
Philadelphia, PA (208)
Seattle, WA (191)
Queens, NY (188)
complete city list

popular articles

Berkeley Old, Berkeley New
from: joey
Winona and Her Big Brown...
from: Franny Wentzel
what's hot this month?

recent articles

Winona and Her Big Brown...
from: Franny Wentzel
Berkeley Old, Berkeley New
from: joey
St. Johns Place Then
from: Janet
TO Island and the Spit
from: Michelle
MLK Saturday
from: joey
Storm Damage
from: Franny Wentzel
TV Looks Old
from: joey
207th Street Station then & Now...
from: Franny Wentzel
Free Utopian Projects
from: joey
Leap Day Post
from: joey
read all today's articles

browse by author

Peter (1348)
joey (454)
jack (323)
EvilGentleman (298)
hool (247)
complete author list

hot topics

subway moscow
seattle wa
astoria ny
london street art
green point
central park
parkdale toronto
tokyo tower
brooklyn east 5th street
vancouver, wa
coney island island
tacoma bridge

Bayside Acacia Cemetery

- NWhyC - Saturday, December 13th, 2008 : goo

[previous] :: [next]

image 29762

image 29763

image 29764

image 29765

image 29766

image 29767

image 29768

image 29769

image 29770

image 29771

image 29772

image 29773

image 29774

image 29775

image 29776

image 29777

image 29778

image 29779

image 29780

image 29781

image 29782

image 29783

image 29784

image 29785

image 29786

image 29787

image 29788

image 29789

image 29790

image 29791

image 29792

Photos from the largely-abandoned side of in , . Browse it on Google Earth.

This article has been viewed 124326 times in the last 7 years

CartLegger: 13th Dec 2008 - 02:26 GMT

Oh my god those are some creepy photos. i am pleased that you slowpokes made it over there finally. About time!

Warning to those that want to go. Its not as if anyone will try to stop you, but go with good intentions. You can see here the work of all those that went with bad ones...

It is spookyyyyyyyy...............

Allison: 13th Dec 2008 - 02:37 GMT

Where did you find the newspaper and photographs? Are they part of a grave or was it random?

NWhyC: 13th Dec 2008 - 02:48 GMT

They were scattered about on the floor inside the crypt marked "Schwartz".

gblvr: 13th Dec 2008 - 02:57 GMT

Oh...that's so sad. Your photos are beautiful, though....

CartLegger: 13th Dec 2008 - 03:32 GMT

Bayside in the Summertime

redchickpoet: 13th Dec 2008 - 03:54 GMT

I loved your photos. I found them facinating, but they broke my heart. I want to buy that place and keep it safe from developers. I wonder what happened. I'll have to research this one. Thanks for sharing these.

Sol: Thanks for amazingly touching photos.

NWhyC: 13th Dec 2008 - 05:03 GMT

Some context:

image 29809
Looking out towards the bordering cemetery, which is manicured and in comparatively lovely condition.

image 29810

image 29811

image 29812

image 29813

image 29814

image 29815

image 29816
That's a bowling ball, by the way.

image 29817
Many crypts had their doors cemented over.

image 29818

anon ( 13th Dec 2008 - 05:03 GMT

youre pics are awesome. this jewish cemetery is beautiful. can you tell me where this is? i would love to go visit.

anon ( 13th Dec 2008 - 06:27 GMT

These are absolutely GORGEOUS.

Miss_Postmortem: 13th Dec 2008 - 09:00 GMT

Those are wonderful photos. It is a shame the cemetery is abandoned. It is terrible that people would vandalize the place. It's horrifying that anyone would disturb someones grave or crypt like that.

NWhyC: 13th Dec 2008 - 13:31 GMT

A little more context: this is the congregation that started the cemetery, and is its neglectful caretaker.
image 29823

image 29824

image 29825

image 29826

image 29827

anon ( 13th Dec 2008 - 16:33 GMT

wow... beautiful and sad at the same time.

nolajewisms: 13th Dec 2008 - 16:39 GMT

You could probably submit this to a Jewish society that would be more than happy to take the means to preserve this cemetery. Try the Jewish Federation, Jewish Endowment Foundation, Union for Reform Judaism, United Orthodox Foundation, etc. There are many outlets out there to uphold this beautiful cemetery. :~}

anon ( address?

anon ( 13th Dec 2008 - 19:53 GMT

So beautiful and sad.
Thank you for posting.
I agree with the poster above.
These places deserve to be preserved and mantained.
Seeing how many have been broken into is horrid.

Seva: 13th Dec 2008 - 21:11 GMT

oh wow. the statue of the child standing in the overgrowth is haunting.

all these pictures show pretty much what i think the cemetery in Neil Gaiman's "The Graveyard Book" looks like.

it's so beautiful! except the graffiti. that's lame.

anon ( geist

anon ( 13th Dec 2008 - 23:02 GMT

It is really beautiful. Why agonize over maintaining a certain version - they're all dead anyway. Let nature take it back.

Lauren: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:46 GMT

Heartbreaking and wild at once. This kind of thing gets my head spinning about the whole ritual of burials and grave-visiting (or lack there of in this case) and "family plots"--it's all so interesting to me. I wrote a paper my second year as an undergrad about the "history of the corpse." It was basically about how the human corpse is inherently "abject" in the academic/Kristeva sense and argues that people have ritualized the handling/disposal of corpses as a way of coping with the "trauma of mortality." I was kind of a pretentious college student. I guess technically I still am.

Of course things like abandoned cemeteries would symbolize a neglect or relinquishing of this kind of ritualizaton, which is curious to me. Even more curious is the notion that the people who were in charge of maintaining these graves, who may have even known some of the people buried in them or their families, allowed them to fall into ruin (as if the whole ritualization of the corpse was somehow no longer necessary) whereas strangers, who are essentially looking at "anonymous graves"--or graves of people whose lives they know nothing about (except for what is stated in the epitaph)--are moved and saddened by these photos.

Egg Face: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:51 GMT

Wow - I live in Bklyn, totally going to take a little day trip to check this out soon. I found a set with more pics (from spring or summer?) on flickr too:

thanks so much for posting. I had no idea this place existed!

Miss Postmortem: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:54 GMT

Those are wonderful photos. It is a shame the cemetery is abandoned. It is terrible that people would vandalize the place. It's horrifying that anyone would disturb someones grave or crypt like that.

bassbone: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:55 GMT

What a beautiful Jewish cemetary, and it seems a shame to see it in such poor shape. It makes me wonder if any of the vandalism is antisemitic in nature.

Oy Caramba: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:56 GMT

Oh, incredible: in QUEENS. Thank you x 100.

jen: 13th Dec 2008 - 23:57 GMT

i can only say one thing...

thanks for sharing these.

KittyC1978: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:08 GMT

I read the wikipedia on the cemetary just now, and it seems that they need to have a fund raiser or something, especially to get the unenterred back into their proper places. Why oh why do people deface cemetaries? It's just so...uncivilized to mess with the departed. No respect. Awesome photos though, and a totally interesting survey of the place.

deadinplastic: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:09 GMT

Even when you are already dead decay won't leave you alone. Sad.

Mateo: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:09 GMT

Great pictures! Abandoned cemeteries are fascinating. I always wonder how they came to be forgotten, especially ones such as this with such ornate stones and fanciful crypts.

It's fucked up that people vandalize abandoned cemetaries. Used or forgotten, they're still people's final resting spots.

I'm originally from Massachusetts. There are abandoned cemeteries all over the state (and the other New England states as well). You go driving around on back roads and you can see them all over the place. They're usually not as big and fancy as this one though.

Hannie: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:10 GMT

Great pictures! I love cemeteries. I really like the shot in the doorway with the leaves on the floor. And the rocking chair is interesting... rather creepy!

Rob: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:12 GMT

Wow. How does this even happen?

How can people have such disrespect for the dead. It makes me sad to see a cemetery in such a state. An old, fogotten cemetery in the woods is one thing as it quietly grows over but is left alone otherwise. But in the middle of the city to be not only forgotten, but violated... I'm just astounded.

Diaego: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:15 GMT

I'm quite weird, I find old cemeteries where things are falling apart naturally to be weirdly reassuring for some reason (perhaps because my childhood home is right next to a cemetery, but also because of the idea of everything becoming the same in time) but people vandalising graves is quite another matter.

Peter: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:29 GMT

this is a very telling link. the figures at the end put the necessary repairs/improvements into a very real-world context.

Afroblanco: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:30 GMT

Someone should use this place as a location for the BEST HORROR MOVIE EVER, and then use the proceeds to fix the place up.

(seriously, that would be one SCARY flick)

Sticky: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:31 GMT

Enough with the vainglorious restorations, dust to dust and all that. I must get out there soon before the ruins are ruined.

This reminds me of the Appian Way outside of Rome, not the catacombs and the romantic half standing buildings, but the overgrown old grave markers where the busted off pieces are still lying in the weeds where they landed.

Countess: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:31 GMT is a site about a documentary, "Ashes to Ashes," about the restoration of Acacia Cemetery (or some part of it) by helpful Mormons. I am unaccountably creeped out by this.

Dee: 14th Dec 2008 - 00:32 GMT

My thoughts . . . meh. It's always sad when cemeteries go unattended and the resting places of loved ones forgotten . . . but to my mind, it's a responsibility of the survivors to tend to the upkeep if nothing else is possible.

This summer I saw Jewish cemeteries in Hungary, Romania and Ukraine, all of which were in much, much worse condition than the one above - and many with graves going back hundreds of years earlier than any of the graves here. In fact, the best-kept spots in most of these cemeteries were in much worse condition than the worst of the pictures in the post above. There were areas of these cemeteries so overgrown that I had to use a flashlight in the middle of a sunny, 80-degree day to find my way around - literally, the darkest outdoor places I've ever been to in daylight hours. Graveside synagogues with trees growing through what used to be the roofs, entire sections impenetrable without an axe . . . and in most places, not a single Jew left who could tend to these sites anywhere nearby. (And in other cases, only one or two surviving and very elderly Jews.) Talk about the heartbreak of seeing the remnant of an almost entirely lost culture . . .

In Chernowitz (Ukraine), I saw a group of Ukrainian kids volunteering their time to clean up a section of the (gigantic) Jewish cemetery there. They wouldn't have been able to clean up more than a tiny fraction - maybe 1% - of the place, but given the more or less complete elimination of the Jewish population for decades and the historical indifference shown the Jews by Ukrainians, it was touching.

CartLegger: 14th Dec 2008 - 01:49 GMT

Very good point, and powerfully described. These areas are in their own way forgotten, started by Jewish communities long since moved on in demographic transitions past.

This cemetery is actually one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in the city, in fact, with its oldest tombstones dating to the mid-19th century. But Pitkin Avenue is not home to the Jewish mafia anymore, and congregation Shaare Zedek is a youngish Upper Westside congregation now, that does not have the money or member interest to care for this place.

When I first saw this place, I was like "how could this happen in NYC?" But the more I think about it, its amazing that it does not happen more often.

NWhyC: 14th Dec 2008 - 02:51 GMT

image 29837

The main culprits tend to be bronze thieves.

A family's clearest connection, sold by the pound.

LD: 14th Dec 2008 - 03:05 GMT

Well. That looks a little too much like Silent Hill Homecoming's cemetery for MY comfort.

Rachel: 14th Dec 2008 - 03:19 GMT

What's even harder to believe is that it is an important custom in Judaism to visit the dead. We bring stones to place on their tombstones.. I know the final resting place of my great-great grandmother in the Bronx.. I bet if the relatives of these people knew what had become of the gravesites they would do something!!! Thank you for bringing it to our attention! May G-d watch over the souls that rest there.

KevinBe: 14th Dec 2008 - 08:51 GMT

Made me think of Neil Gaiman's The Graveyard Book as well. In fact I just sent a message through his website suggesting he take a look at these. :)

Monica: 14th Dec 2008 - 16:13 GMT

it just creeps me out that its here in ny, I am not fond of the open ones, I have to go take a look one day, great photos

NWhyC: 14th Dec 2008 - 20:39 GMT

image 29838

image 29839

image 29840

image 29841

image 29842

image 29843

image 29844

image 29845

image 29846

image 29847

image 29848

Eric: 14th Dec 2008 - 23:17 GMT

I used to take my synagogue teen group to trim the vines and clean up a section of this cemetery right around Halloween every year. Then one year we all got horrible poison ivy, so I haven't been back in a while.

It really is a hauntingly beautiful place.

M&O: 14th Dec 2008 - 23:33 GMT

You *would* have overcast lighting like this on the day you chose to go photograph an abandoned cemetery. Amazing shots and experience. Kudos. I am literally speechless on so many levels.

CartLegger: 14th Dec 2008 - 23:41 GMT

Thanks Eric. Why just look?

Why not make an impact on this place?

I am considering a mission to clean this place up, on Sunday January 4th.

If you are interested, you can find me on Gmail, or here.

Kim: 15th Dec 2008 - 02:16 GMT

These photographs are so lonely and yet so lovely. Thank you so much for sharing them. If you ever publish a book, I'll buy it.

Cemeteries get abandoned when they're all filled up or their endowment vanishes or all the people laid to rest there are no longer remembered by anyone living.

We went and put a beautiful stone up at my grandmother's grave, many many years after her death and found it in pretty rough condition. Not nearly this bad though.

almostauthentic: 15th Dec 2008 - 05:49 GMT

I have way too much of an overactive imagination so i find that creepy as fuck. I am a walking contradiction... i watch horror/gore flicks for fun but i get freaked out by an opened grave. I get a thousand different stories playing out in my head, none of them pleasant. All i know is i wouldn't have the guts to wander through there alone.
The photos are stunning. I love the one with the three chairs that says 'at rest'... black humour ftw.

jack: 15th Dec 2008 - 14:58 GMT

wow, over 50 posts here and pic's, we have a thing about cemeteries, we the living view it as a scary, deserted area. some of us who are older see it as our next apartment, next home. i'm 66 and been thru some scary moments and close to death so i look upon the cemetery as a place where i can return to dust, but most importantly its the last place my body will be. I tend to think more about my soul. yes, i believe in my soul. i believe more in God than i do in this world. in the future, when your visiting graves, don't look for me there, i will be somewhere else. i may be in paradise, fly fishing in a stream, walking in a glen, talking to so many people i once knew, joking with my friend tommy whom i miss. ahh, death. you will come to take me some day. please come in about another 30 years. i should be ready by then. i'll start packing up my stuff in 29 years from now and wait for the door to open.

anon ( 15th Dec 2008 - 16:35 GMT

That will be quite the project to get that straightened out. One wonders why those responsible would let it get to that point. Pop

Kregorious: 16th Dec 2008 - 04:18 GMT

Ya I know of this cemetery, its only a few blocks away from my house. Its a shame what has happened to the place. Seems that the congregation that was in charge of maintaining the space dissolved and slipped into obscurity. Now Nature is truly reclaiming the area. The adjacent cemetery is still being maintained as your other photos show, but nothing is happening in this space.

Some ass holes toppled tomb stones and sprayed anti-Semetic crap on some of the crypts, Satanists broke into the tombs and stole skulls and bones and held rituals, and at one point druggies where having a field day in there. Last summer a Jewish group tried to clean up the place, but the job was way way to big for them to handle so they only did a small potion (which is now over grown yet again). Ive been in there and the place is both Haunting and Beautiful. The workmanship and beauty of some of the tombs is top quality. There is talk that the Jewish community is raising more money and volunteers to help clean it up again next summer. I hope they can do it.. its a big job.

Pantera: 16th Dec 2008 - 23:03 GMT

Unfortunately these cases or even WORSE happen many times. When I was a kid in my hometown Szeged (M.E.-Europe, Hungary) there were 2 abandoned cemeteries, a protestant and a catholic (mainly for rich folk).
The first became abandoned after the counter-reformation and the second after the communists gained power in 1945. The protestant cemetary got domolished in 1995 and a housing estate was built on it's place. How could people sleep comfortably while knowing there are hundreds of corpses under their basement?

The second case was even more scandalous, again in 1995 they wanted to build a supermarket with an underground garage at that spot so they dug out everything. Later they ran out of money and left it all completely EXPOSED, corpses bones and everything, for 3 years until they decided to bury them again. So incredibly inhuman. Nowdays just a plain of bare ground stands there but needless to say I'm trying to avoid going past it as much as it's possible.

John: 17th Dec 2008 - 13:27 GMT

Judging from the dates on the crypts and tombstones, I don't think many people remember these poor souls. My own grandparents are buried in Mount Saint Mary's in Flushing, which as of now is well cared for, but in the far future - who knows! I am 60 years old, and my parents and siblings are gone; who will take care of my family's graves when I am gone? Who will even remember them? No one....

Melanie: 17th Dec 2008 - 18:59 GMT

Amazing photos. I've always had a morbid fascination with cemeteries as well. I would love to visit this one with a camera but it seems
a little scary to venture alone or even with a friend or two. We should form a field trip beginning of spring but it would have to be a bunch of people. Not to crazy about meeting up with a complete stranger at an abandoned cemetery. Any takers?

dave in mlwaukee: 18th Dec 2008 - 01:26 GMT

Thank you for the stirring and poignant photos. Sadly, this is how this cemetery has looked as far back a I can remember, going back to my youth in the 1960s and 1970s. But the souls of the people buried here are definitely NOT "forgotten." I have a great-grandmother, great-great grandfather, and several other relatives buried here. I wish I were in town to help with the cleanup effort that people are trying to get started. The times I have been to visit my relatives' graves while I'm visiting NYC, I've had to cut through thick brush to be able to see them. This cemetery is abandoned, but unfortunately it is sadly neglected. Places like this are an important part of everyone's past (yes, even if your own ancestors are not buried there) and should be honored and respected. It should never be forgotten that the people who are buried here were once living, breathing human beings who accomplished things, had hopes and dreams just as we do, had people whom they loved and who loved them, and who were mourned after they were gone.

Renee: 18th Dec 2008 - 16:10 GMT

Although there is a haunting beauty captured in these photographs, the
feeling I am experiencing most is how appalled I am by the conditions of this cemetery. I'm sure that when the families PAID the Congregation
Shaare Zedek to bury or entomb their loved ones, they expected them to stay that way and would have never imagined that one day their loved ones would be exposed as shown in photos 9&11 (Hirschberg/Schnaier families).

This is totally unacceptable and believe me, I have seen cemeteries that are over a hundred years old look better than this by simply keeping the lawn mowed if anything. If anyone else is disgusted by this as I am, I urge you to contact the Congregation Shaare Zedek at 212-874-7005
or email President - Richard Friedman or
head of cemeteries Ethan Klingsberg

Renee: 18th Dec 2008 - 19:19 GMT

These pictures have fascinated me to the point of doing a little research on this matter. It seems that the Congregation Shaare Zedek used the funds paid by the families for perpetual care of the cemetery grounds to renovate their building on W93rd street and for their own purposes. There are currently lawsuits brought on by the families only after broken promises from the Congregation Shaare Zedek that they would have the place cleaned up promising to start back in August Obviously, this wasn't done nor even attempted except for back in 2003 but that was by volunteers (mostly mormons) as well as local funeral homes who reintered exposed remains (i.e. Schnaier photo 11 - reintered 6/10/03). How disgusting. No one should support this congregation on W93 Street. They are clearly thieves and are a disgrace to the religion. Imagine how they
would feel if their mothers or fathers vaults were smashed open with their
caskets exposed.
Ironically enough... there is a "grounds keeper" at this cemetery but he claims that he doesn't even have equipment, not even a lawn mower.
I hope they are sued for millions and forced to restore this cemetery
to what it should look like based on their promise of perpetual care when
they took everyones money.

CartLegger: 19th Dec 2008 - 00:02 GMT

Thanks so much for your work on this. Its made these photos all the more meaningful. i've taken your advice and contacted the above, and hope everyone who sees these photos does as well!

Additionally, if you want to come with us on January 4th, please contact me at Gmail.

New York Historian: 21st Dec 2008 - 05:05 GMT

I cannot believe the photos, so heart breaking. I would like to retrieve the newspapers and photos for safe keeping, maybe given to an organization of some kind, for history, maybe even scan the documents and place the copies in the mausoleum. Any suggestions. Are the newspapers and photos still in the mausoleum all over the floor? I will plan a trip to the cemetery this coming spring. Until then, I will say prayers for all in those in that cemetery.

John Dereszewski: 21st Dec 2008 - 14:33 GMT

This was a truly extroadinary achievement. It is extremely difficult to create something that is both beautiful and heartbreaking at the same time, but this certainly occurred here. Congratulations for a wonderful presentation - and I hope it leads to some long delayed preservation action.

CartLegger: 22nd Dec 2008 - 03:56 GMT

I have my doubts, Jon.

But it is going to get us out there on January 4th.

Renee: 23rd Dec 2008 - 15:50 GMT

Hey Cartlegger... Kudos for good intentions but upon further research, this is a MAJOR task and I really don't think that it would make an impact. I found another site, a paper written by the Dept of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology of Columbia University back in 2006.
This was a detailed report regarding the shape the cemetery is in especially the "forested" section. The report is pretty detailed in regards to the trees, ivy, ground covering, etc hence the reason the Dept of Ecogoly found interest in it. Apparently this cemetery is made up of close to 5.5 acres of FOREST alone. After doing a Google map search (80-35 Pitkin Ave Ozone Park), you will notice yourself the huge cluster of trees. So with 5.5 acres of forest and no maintenace, nature is taking
back what is hers. English Ivy, poison ivy, Queens Lace, etc cannot just be yanked out and that be the end of it. It needs to be cut at the root
and treated so that it will not grow back and or spread. They have included a proposal on what it would take both monetarily and man hours
to getting the cemetery back to the state it should be in if it were
perpetually cared for as it should have. Unfortunately, the figures run into the hundreds of thousands as well as thousands of man hours initially with year round maintenace to keep it that way. It's sad but
no one wants to deal with it in that magnitude. They have propsed that
New York City Parks adopt it since it is considered forested area like
Forest Park in Forest Hills but I guess the city didn't want to take on that burden. So... it falls back on the Congregation Shaare Zedek since they are the land owners and we all know how that goes. I really don't know if there is anything that anyone can do other than BOYCOTT that Congregation and the families carry on with their lawsuits for failure to
provide perputual care. Any cleanup efforts made by volunteers such as
you or I or the mormons back in 2003 will just be a grain of sand and not last without maintenance. I think it's reasons like this that have confirmed my wishes for wanting to be cremated. I would love to go out there on a field trip with a group of people and take pictures though.
Perhaps the spring. Happy Holidays!

CartLegger: 23rd Dec 2008 - 23:58 GMT


Again, very well researched answer. Having walked these overgrown paths, I wholeheartedly agree with you. But each of us can do a little tiny bit of something. Even just bear witness.

If you don't have the patience to wait for Spring to bear witness with camera in hand, please contact.

Bayside Watcher: 27th Dec 2008 - 19:42 GMT

Here's what someone is trying to do about the Bayside Cemetery problem

CartLegger: 3rd Jan 2009 - 22:43 GMT

We'll be out at Bayside between 1-3PM tomorrow if you care to bear witness with us

I Remember: 4th Jan 2009 - 05:51 GMT

I have been to numerous NY and NJ cemeteries photodocumenting the graves of my family. Its sad to see what has become of this cemetery.
I have in my records two families who are buried there. I wonder if their descendants would care to know what has befallen their ancestors.
1) Fagenson. This family holds a seat on the stock exchange
2) Butler. I believe they own Butler Lumber in the Bronx

zagg: How did it go, CartLegger?

Booballa: 4th Jan 2009 - 22:15 GMT

They should have enough money to care for this cemetery. It's in disgusting condition. The members of this congregation should be ashamed for letting it fall into this state and not to have anything done about it. I say the city should go in and clean things up as a health hazard...and charge the congregation for the work, especially since there's a board to oversee the cemetery and a caretaker. If the congregation doesn't pay; take their church and sell it to make back the money from their lack of caring.

CartLegger: 4th Jan 2009 - 22:26 GMT

image 30008

Our trip was good, but a bit disturbing, Zagg. You can see why. The sad state of the cemetery is attracting a ghoulish group of grave robbers, as Kregorious noted above. I understand that they plan to repair this particular crypt soon, but it won't solve the problem of the cemetery.

Craig: 5th Jan 2009 - 19:35 GMT

Thanks for bringing attention to the conditions at Bayside. I have many family members buried there (the grave of one--Helen Schwalb--is shown in two of your pictures above), and although I live out of the area, I try to visit the cemetery when in town and clean up small portions as best as I can. It's hard work and you need to be careful of poison ivy and to not accidentally damage the markers or compact the soil around them. Although much of the cemetery is in disrepair, there are many people who still come to visit the graves of their loved ones.

Kavod Ha'met: 5th Jan 2009 - 19:55 GMT

Kavod Ha'met- respect for the dead- is tradition.

What has been allowed to happen to our sacred site here is intolerable. This isn't even just overgrown or slightly forgotten like most old cemeteries. This place is RANSACKED and has been ABOMINATED. Why has this been allowed to happen? Are you not ashamed of our Congregation? I AM! For Shame!

Do something, Shaare Zedek! With even the slightest effort, you and I both know that funds and volunteers would flow freely from the congregation. Why are you so mum on this? I never DREAMED the situation was so bad out there. Now, I am of the opinion that something MUST be done.

Laksay: 5th Jan 2009 - 21:10 GMT

I agree. Whomever is in charge of this cemetery must know about the condition, and them not doing anything about it is nothing short of an abomination!

Rabbi Julia Andelman: 6th Jan 2009 - 08:51 GMT

Dear Friends,
Congregation Shaare Zedek has been working extremely hard over the past several years to forge a long-term strategy for the restoration and maintenance of Bayside Cemetery, despite the fact that only 5% of this enormous cemetery was originally designated for use by members of SZ. The other 95% of the cemetery was sold over 100 years ago to dozens of private burial societies and other Jewish organizations almost all of which are now defunct and have therefore defaulted on their obligations to care for their sub-sections of Bayside. Shaare Zedek is the one organization that has tried consistently to do its part to care for Bayside despite the unimaginable financial burden involved. Tens of thousands of dollars are spent from the synagogue budget every year (despite the fact that not a single current member of Shaare Zedek has any relatives buried at Bayside, and despite the fact that the synagogue is struggling financially) to employ two full-time caretakers at the cemetery, who do the best they can to clear the areas around graves for relatives of the deceased when they come to visit; but the task is indescribably beyond what two employees can manage. In the past the congregation organized several community clean-up days at the cemetery, but volunteer efforts have been largely halted because the effects of these efforts are usually virtually erased after a few weeks or months due to the vicious type of plant material growing at Bayside. Only a very large-scale professional restoration, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars, can address the situation effectively. Beyond the execution of a one-time restoration of this nature, providing for the long-term care of Bayside Cemetery is a very complicated multi-million dollar endeavor. Therefore the initial restoration has not been done, because, without the funds to provide for long-term maintenance, the cemetery would again fall into disrepair and huge sums of money would have been wasted. The professional and lay leadership of Shaare Zedek has been very focused, in partnership with the Hebrew Free Burial Association, the Jewish Community Relations Council, the NY Attorney General's office, and the UJA-Federation of New York, on trying to work productively towards the achievement of the goal that we all share of properly honoring the souls buried at Bayside. You would be hard-pressed to find any individual or entity out there that yearns more passionately than Congregation Shaare Zedek for the complete, proper, and sustained restoration and care of Bayside. The sole result of the litigation against us -- which contains innumerable false charges -- has been to divert our focus from actually addressing the problem, wasting countless hours of human resources over the past year and a half since the litigation commenced. Virtually everyone with real knowledge of the situation views this lawsuit as frivolous, baseless, and/or, worst of all, tragically counter-productive. The plaintiffs’ relentless and pointless harassment of the congregation, utterly against the interests of actually repairing the cemetery and honoring the deceased, is inexplicable. Please do not believe everything you read on the internet and everything you hear from uneducated parties who claim to be authorities on this issue. There is quite a lot of libel, slander, misperception, misunderstanding, and misrepresentation out there. If you wish to learn more about the actual situation at Bayside, please feel free to contact either the president or the rabbi of the congregation.
Rabbi Julia Andelman
Congregation Shaare Zedek

NWhyC: 6th Jan 2009 - 11:53 GMT

Rabbi Andelman,

You say we should feel free to contact the president or rabbi of the congregation if we wish to know more. Though this sounds hopeful, I did contact not only Rabbi Friedman but also Ms. Elbaum and Mr. Klingsberg and several other key contacts in the congregation both before this was posted, several days after (featuring some of the commentary and photos) and also yesterday. To date, I've no replies from anyone (save for one unsolicited and rather presumptuous-to-the-point-of-offense email from one of your congregation members saying such photos "disrespected the dead", to which I replied he should speak to the congregation, not shoot the messenger), so that advice, kind as it sounds, doesn't mean much if no one bothers to even respond.

As you have well demonstrated, one can talk circles around the matter and imbue it with an excess of excuses and claims of negligent past caretakers or cleanup efforts. You can also claim that your congregation has more passion about this topic than anyone, yet replies from them or feedback from them here is non-existent (aside from your singular comment), so regrettably, I must take your claims at face-value at best.

But back to the point of respect for the dead that the member of your congregation pointed out... Despite all this talk, this is a very real look at what is going on in this cemetery, and why it needs to be tended to:

image 30044

image 30045

image 30046

The ground is literally strewn with the remains of former members of your congregation.

Perhaps you can take a moment to step out of all of this rhetoric and tell us, specifically, what is being done to protect or honor the human remains there that are exposed, violated and robbed on a daily basis? What actual plans are in the works for this place? What sort of timeline do you have? Where are you now on that timeline?

Let's have more answers and less talk!

Renee: 6th Jan 2009 - 18:30 GMT

Dear Rabbi Julia Andelman,

I am probably one of those people you would categorize as the uneducated by believing everything I read off the internet to be true. As you can see by my comments above, I have read up on this matter only because I am deeply disturbed by the pictures. While I am not privy to the talks of litigation, etc or can or cannot confirm if what I am reading is true or not... one thing is for sure - PICTURES DO NOT LIE.

Take a look at the counter on this page, almost 7500 views in 4 weeks time. This is something that has been going on for a very long time and FORTUNATELY for the fact that we have the internet, people are being made aware through photographs just exactly what is going on there.

Cartlegger has arranged for several people to meet up this past weekend to bear witness at the cemetery. I was not able to make it. Those who are only viewing photos have now seen first hand the destruction and lack of respect for the deceased. I am not Jewish but have a great respect for life and death. I give you my word that I would personally volunteer my off time as I'm sure others would to try to make this right. As you have said and I have mentioned, this act would be senseless unless followed up with maintenance.

I suggest you contact Columbia University's Dept of Ecology, Evolution & Environmental Biology. They seem to have come up with a plan. I'm sure with volunteers here, at your congregation and perhaps even Columbia University, we can try to make this right but yes it will take following up. I think we should make it a mission, pick a day and get everyone out there. We could get the news involved and get more volunteers that way and perhaps the city will help out with the maintenance.

Wishful thinking? It doesn't hurt to try right?

NWhyC: 6th Jan 2009 - 20:59 GMT

Here are some more photos. Bear in mind that as it is winter, most of the foliage has died back and you can actually see many of the tombs that are completely lost in the undergrowth in warmer months:

image 30047

image 30048

image 30049

image 30050

image 30051

image 30052

image 30053

image 30054

image 30055

image 30056

Afroblanco: 6th Jan 2009 - 22:49 GMT

Ms. Andelman, I agree with Renee, NWhyC and most of the others. Despite all those words you typed, you really didn't say much at all. Like it or not, as the first officially-involved person to respond, you are now the only spokesperson involved in this conversation. So please give us some answers. I, also, am curious if you have any sort of timeline to share, and also urge you to tell us where things are on that timeline.

I am also curious to know if it is true that your congregation used funds intended to improve this cemetery to do renovations on the congregation's Upper West Side synagogue and related facilities. I have heard that from several unrelated sources.

I really hope this isn't a case of "out of sight, out of mind" for Congregation Shaare Zedek, and I hope that the images of despair that fill this hallowed ground dance before your eyes, in every moment that you enjoy in the sunny synagogue and in fellowship with fellow congregation members until your responsibility to maintain this cemetery is at least minimally fulfilled. Despite the passing of the burial societies and various sundry Jewish organizations that once cared for their parcels, the truth of the matter is that, at least in the public eye, you are the negligent overseer and your congregation's name (and now yours) are indelibly attached both to its current state and its future fate.

Cremation Folks...: 7th Jan 2009 - 02:35 GMT

"Leave No Trace" springs to mind as the possible creed for humankind. This could possibly be the finest gift we can bestow upon the world and its inhabitants that follow us.

Lord Whimsy: 7th Jan 2009 - 02:45 GMT

The neglect isn't really the problem--it's fitting, really, even beautiful. The problem is the vandalism, which is reprehensible.

Bayside Watcher: 7th Jan 2009 - 04:10 GMT

Notice that some of the pictures above have headstones with Yellow Stickers on them. Also some have stickers that say 'PC' on them. These are graves that have purchased perpetual care. In one newspaper article on the Internet, a Congregation Shaare Zedek representative spoke about hundreds of perpetual care contracts. I've been to other Queens and NYC jewish cemeteries over the years and there are a lot more than hundreds of perpetual care stickers at those cemeteries so I can only presume that there are many graves at Bayside Cemetery that have perpetual care but stickers weren't put on the headstones or the stickers have been removed.

But let's assume for arguments sake that there are only several hundred graves with perpetual care. Since pictures speak the truth, then why do the pictures above that have stickers on the headstones look anything but well cared for? Where's the perpetual care?

Looking at these pictures, I see horrible vandalism and a lack of fulfillment of perpetual care. After all, the dead people didn't put the perpetual care stickers on the headstones, the cemetery did!

Bayside Watcher: 7th Jan 2009 - 22:04 GMT

There are many interesting posts here and many interesting questions and facts to check on.

In one of the previous posts it is questioned if it is true that Congregation Shaare Zedek used funds intended for the cemetery but instead used those funds for renovations to the synagogue building.

To validate this, go to

In this article, Congregation Shaare Zedek's attorney, Steven Axinn, clearly states that "some cemetery funds were borrowed from a nonrestricted account to repair the synagogue roof, which is entirely proper and legal. The money was repaid, he said"

However, a simple reading of this quote should raise some eyebrows. If you read NY State Cemetery Law, you find that there is no such thing as a 'nonrestricted' account for a cemetery. Funds for a cemetery are held in restricted fiduciary trust funds of varying types (permanent maintenance fund, current maintenance fund, perpetual care fund, and other such trust fund accounts). These trust fund accounts are held in trust for cemeteries by the owners and operators of cemeteries and are not for use at all by the owners without court approval. And there are distinct rules about how the funds can be used, whether it's the principal or the interest from the funds.

In other previous posts, some of the comments allude to the synagogue's publicly stated position that they don't own most of the cemetery because they sold the burial plots. I think this is an incorrect position for the synagogue to take. When someone buys a cemetery plot, it isn't a real estate transaction. The buyer doesn't then own the actual land where the grave is located. What the buyer owns is a right to use the plot for a burial. In other words the buyer owns a legal right to bury someone at that location but they don't own the actual land or real estate. As a result, Congregation Shaare Zedek as the owner of Bayside Cemetery owns the whole cemetery. The deceased or their families don't own the real estate. So the dissolution of numerous burial societies over the years as the members die off has nothing to do with ownership of the cemetery. Congregation Shaare Zedek owns Bayside Cemetery and is responsible for its care and maintenance and security.

I don't understand how Rabbi Andelman can write above that there are libelous or slanderous statements being made when Congregation Shaare Zedek's attorney has publicly admitted to the misuse of the cemetery's perpetual care money. And the terrible condition of the cemetery is obvious through these pictures and diaries of people's visits to Bayside Cemetery.

Lastly, I cannot understand how Rabbi Andelman can conduct Yom Kippur services under a roof that, as the lawsuit that I read about alleges, has been repaired using perpetual care money that was illegally taken from the cemetery's trust funds.

The pictures in this blog speak loudly about the conditions at Bayside Cemetery. Pictures like these don't lie. What do they say about how Congregation Shaare Zedek sees their responsibilities to maintain their Bayside Cemetery?

I remember: 8th Jan 2009 - 00:39 GMT

I agree it is difficult to view photos like these. Instead of figuring out whom is to blame, lets figure out a solution. If there are so many hits on this site than maybe some of these people want to come out and CLEAN UP.
I am sure that we can organize 4 clean up visits per year. I wonder if we can enlist the aid of the city and compost most of the overgrowth.

Bayside Watcher: 8th Jan 2009 - 02:00 GMT

'I remember' - You are a good person and you have great intentions. But have you been to Bayside Cemetery? If you had, you wouldn't possibly think that 4 cleanup visits per year would do much of anything. Bayside Cemetery is 13 or so acres with about 35,000 graves. There are thousands of trees that need to be cut down and removed. Trees need to be felled professionally in sections because you can't just cut them down and let them fall because they will destroy precious gravestones as they fall. There would be tens of thousands of dumpsters of debris to remove. If composted, the debris would likely create a mountain of compost many stories high. Experts would need to remove the stumps of the cut down trees because hundreds upon hundreds of them are growing through the graves so if you just yank the stumps out you would pull human remains out with the roots. I don't think this is a job for a group of well intentioned amateur volunteers - whether through 4 visits a year or 40 visits a year.

And will the volunteer cleanup group be there to do this next year? And the year after? And 10 years from now? 50 years from now? 150 years from now? This is a cemetery. Cemeteries are there forever. Perpetual Care is intended to maintain the cemetery forever.

So I must disagree with you 'I remember'. I have family buried at Bayside Cemetery. I appreciate your concern and your good intentions. But unfortunately, enlisting the aid of volunteers won't help in any real way now or forever. The congregation must do this right.

I have attached below a picture of Bayside Cemetery from Google Earth. Acacia Cemetery is the clear area on the right and Mokom Shalom Cemetery is the clear area on the left. Bayside Cemetery is in the center. The upper right quadrant of Bayside Cemetery that is solid green is literally like the Amazon Rain Forest during summer.

Congregation Shaare Zedek owns Bayside Cemetery. They are responsible for the problems at their cemetery. They must fix up the cemetery in a massive one time professional effort and then ensure that there is a proper financial endowment to ensure that Bayside Cemetery will be maintained now, tomorrow, next year, next decade, next century, and forever - long after either of us are departed from this earth.

image 30064

I remember: 8th Jan 2009 - 06:07 GMT

I now can appreciate the scope of the problem.

Renee: 8th Jan 2009 - 16:48 GMT

Dear Rabbi Julia Andelman, Let's put aside the talks of misappropriated funds and discussions of amounts of money and man hours it would take to overhaul this cemetery. While I can only speak for myself, I feel that the general consensus here is what we are all disgusted by most is the total lack of respect shown for the dead. Let's put mother nature and the conditions of the graves on the back burner and address what I feel takes priority. The conditions of the crypts are horrific. In many cases, they have been violated. Some have had the marble slabs smashed exposing caskets as well as human remains. Several crypts have remains strewn about and some even robbed of bones. Are these crypts a morbid adventure for bored local teens or havens for drug addicts to smoke crack or shoot up with an added bonus of hoping to find a nice piece of jewelry that someone was entombed with? One thing is for sure you NEED TO START SOMEWHERE and I believe hiring someone to brick off the entrances to the crypts is not only one permanent solution but a beginning of show of good faith on behalf of the Congregation Shaare Zedek.

The dead deserve to rest in peace.

AP: 8th Jan 2009 - 17:10 GMT

Renee, there is a caretaker on site who works very hard to tend the cemetery. But, if you look at Bayside Watcher's comment above above (with aerial image and approximation of the cemetery being about 14 acres/35,0000 graves) you'll probably agree that its laughable to merely put one man in charge of what it would take an army of men and equipment to care for.

Here, we have simply another oblique example of Congregation Shaare Zedek's "band-aid solution" to the problem. Hire only one laborer to tend to the few graves that people still actively visit and to make an attempt to patch holes and run off unwanted visitors. That's cursory at best.

Bayside Watcher: 8th Jan 2009 - 18:42 GMT

Renee, your concern and outrage for the condition of the mausoleums and the internal crypts are spot on. And reinterring the remains of the dead in those crypts and securing the mausoleums should be a very high priority for Congregation Shaare Zedek.

But in my opinion the problem is more complex than that because, as 'AP' said, that's just a bandaid solution. There needs to be a systemic fix to the problems at Bayside Cemetery.

I assume a main reason the mausoleums have been vandalized is because the cemetery provides ready access for vandals and vandals have a secure and shielded place to do their evil deeds. There are articles on the internet about the vandalism at Bayside Cemetery where it is described how the police use infrared detectors to 'see' vandals in the cemetery at night. If you look at the cemeteries on either side of Bayside Cemetery you can imagine the difficulty and risk for vandals to get away with their crimes. You can stand on the sidewalk at Pitkin Avenue and practically see all the way across Acacia and Mokom Shalom cemeteries. Fear of being seen on the ground and from the air (it was reported that the police also do helicopter fly-overs) is one aspect of the protective shield for the cemetery which Bayside Cemetery cannot benefit from. The aerial photo I posted previously clearly shows how easy it is to avoid detection in Bayside Cemetery.

So in my opinion, the only solution is a holistic one. Fix the mausoleums, reinter the remains of the violated crypts, clear cut the overgrowth, repair the infrastructure/roads/fencing/buildings, repair and paint the gated areas, install better security and lighting, provide refuse disposal, etc. And then maintain the restored cemetery each year forever. That's what perpetual care means.

Cemeteries are forever. Congregation Shaare Zedek owns Bayside Cemetery. The list of what the congregation needs to do is long. Restoring all the money plus interest that is rightfully the cemetery's to begin with would clearly be an excellent first step and will provide funding for all the other things that are needed.

Congregation Shaare Zedek has lots to do to restore the respect and dignity of the deceased at Bayside Cemetery.

Kevod ha-met - respect for the dead

Renee: 8th Jan 2009 - 20:13 GMT

Hi AP & Bayside Watcher - I agree wholeheartedly and there are no arguments here. The entire place is a complete disaster. If you scroll up a little, you'll notice that I've posted several comments here and am well aware of the magnitude involved with restoring this cemetery. The purpose of my current post was to address the Rabbi directly because of the comment made by her implying since they can't afford to do everything, then why bother doing anything?

Here's a copy and paste from her post:

"Beyond the execution of a one-time restoration of this nature, providing for the long-term care of Bayside Cemetery is a very complicated multi-million dollar endeavor. Therefore the initial restoration has not been done, because, without the funds to provide for long-term maintenance, the cemetery would again fall into disrepair and huge sums of money would have been wasted".

Yes it's a band aid but wouldn't we all feel better as human beings knowing that if anything, we could at least get them to commit to permanently closing off the crypts so those who should be resting in peace aren't strewn about the floor with their skulls missing? Again, I have read the report from Columbia University dated 2006 and have an idea of what is involved and it is complex and will cost a lot to rectify however more troubling is that fact that Shaare Zedek is not willing to deal with this situation at all, on any level.

I am bluntly calling them out and saying if they cared at all they would do something, anything. The crypts can be permanently closed off and "huge sums of money will not be wasted on long term maintenance" since closing off the crypts is long term maintenance in itself.

A drop in the bucket, yes - but a start and tackling the most horrific and inexplicable situation first. Isn't it sad that we, a bunch of strangers, moved by pictures and visits, have more compassion for what is going on there than the congregation has for it's own? Thank you all for feeling as passionately about this as I do. Thank you NWhyC & Cartlegger for bringing this to our attention. We can make a difference. Although it doesn't seem like it, we have already. I'm sure they've been flooded with phone calls and emails since this blog started on Dec 13th. They had to, why else would the Rabbi bother to comment here other than to pacify us?

Next step... Mayor Bloomberg's office? Hey - if the city has 4 million dollars to rename the Triboro to RFK perhaps the city can find the funds to do something about a cemetery sitting within NYC limits. Stay tuned the wheels are turning.

Cartlegger - keep me informed of upcoming field trips. I couldn't make the one this past Sunday.

CartLegger: 9th Jan 2009 - 01:46 GMT

I am just an observer at this point, enjoying the inertia of this passionate and informed debate. I am glad that citynoise can be the place where the Synagogue has finally spoken--thank you Rabbi Andelman. That is why this website was created.

I would encourage all who have a stake in seeing the cemetery improved to keep sending this thread to all your friends and colleagues. The more who know, the more page counts registered, the more letters to the congregation, the more likely they will act.

As for our next group trip, I'll be waiting till the first leaves are on the trees, and temperature is up a bit!

NWhyC: 9th Jan 2009 - 04:29 GMT

image 30078

image 30079

image 30080

image 30081

image 30082

image 30083

image 30084

image 30085

image 30086
Yes, that's a coconut...

image 30087
And yes, that's a bowling ball.

Bayside Watcher: 9th Jan 2009 - 12:34 GMT

These new pictures are great!

But as 'CartLegger' implied because these pics are all taken in late fall or winter, they don't capture the full effect of the overgrowth when there is foliage on the deciduous trees, shrubs and plants. I've been there in full summer and it's like the Amazon Rain Forest with all the foliage.

That Bayside Cemetery lawsuit website has a whole section of pictures and many of them are in spring or summer. Plus there are other pictures of mausoleum vandalism from the last major episode of vandalism in the early 2000's when the funeral directors were restoring the graves. It's very interesting to contrast what the place looks like in summer and winter.

See in the photos section in the upper left of the screen for pictures of Bayside Cemetery in full bloom.

I notice that there is a link to this blog on the front page of that website and a link in the articles section too so this blog is getting more famous!

Lastly, in the picture immediately above I see the green bowling ball on a grave stone. In an earlier picture in this blog from a posting on Dec 13, 2008 assumedly that same green bowling bowl is on the ground in the weeds in a different area of the cemetery. What a shame that the debris and trash in the cemetery is now being moved around in the cemetery rather than being discarded in the trash as it should be. Especially since a bowling ball is the kind of thing that the vandals who prowl the cemetery would use to break gravestones. If anyone goes there again, please throw the bowling ball in the trash! I won't be able to go back there for a while.

Sarah Beck: 11th Jan 2009 - 22:07 GMT

To me there are two issues: one, nature's reclaiming the site, and two, hoodlums taking out the bones of our Bobbes and Zaydes (Grandmas and Grandpas) and throwing them around. Let's not use euphemisms here.

Re: 1, the ecological questions are way beyond my ken.

Re: 2, as the daughter and granddaughter of contractors, who unfortunately do not operate locally, I know for a fact that bricking/cementing up the doors and windows of crypts, and reinterring the bones of our mothers and fathers, is simply not a matter of hundreds of thousands of dollars. Does it cost money? Sure. More money than the major NY Jewish orgs. have? No.

If some sort of low-level worker at a Jewish communal org., somebody's sister- or brother-in-law, makes $35K a year for doing very little--and I say this as an alum of many Jewish communal orgs.--think of how many crypts we could seal up for just one low-level salary.

This is not even to speak of the directors and administrators. For example, the CEO of one major NYC organization serving the Jewish poor made $339,880 in 2006. (This same org. is presently hiring a part-time volunteer coordinator--the job's on if anyone's interested. Do you think they will launch a Bayside Acacia project? Don't hold your breath.) The CEO of the NY branch of a national network of Jewish organizations made a mere $451,000 in 2006. All of these figures are available for anyone's perusal at Nonprofit Forms 990 are a matter of public record. To the commenter who said we should hit up Bloomberg personally, not a bad idea, but Bloomberg never committed himself to serve the Jewish community.

I could (obviously) go on. But let me close with a word of support for R. Andelman of Shaarei Zedek. Readers, don't point the finger at that congregation, or at any of the now-defunct burial societies who shared responsibility for Bayside Acacia. If the money isn't there, it isn't there. The landsmen that founded the landsmanschaften are, in most cases, just as dead as those in Bayside Acacia. But although Shaarei Zedek cannot possibly foot the entire bill, they should at the very least be loudly and fiercely leading the movement to extract funding from those who do indeed have the resources. Otherwise one is simply part of the problem.

In friendship,
Sarah Beck
Washington Heights

AP: 11th Jan 2009 - 22:59 GMT

Sarah, your saying "think of how many crypts we could seal up for just one low-level salary" leads me to believe that you aren't aware that there is already a 6-day-a-week caretaker there..... whom all sides agree can accomplish very little on his own, and with such minor funding and interest from the congregation as a whole. It's not his fault. It would take an army to accomplish anything permanent there. He is just there to clean up trash, try to patch the fences, and to do whatever comparatively minor work he can actually do on his own, without help or major equipment investments.

Similarly, it is exactly because Shaare Zedek is not "loudly and fiercely leading the movement to extract funding from those who do indeed have the resources" that I think they are acting in a most sadly irresponsible way. It is exactly because of this that I am speaking out here.

While I'm on the topic of responsibility, I also notice that the representatives from Shaare Zedek, such as Rabbi Andelman, have already lost interest in responding to this post or developing any dialog, too. Imagine that!

Sarah Beck: 11th Jan 2009 - 23:18 GMT

I should clarify. Perhaps it would be better to neglect other maintenance for a time (wait, wait), do a census on the number of crypts to be reinforced/repaired, get bids for that, solicit funds, do it, and then return to the present non-maintenance routine.

By "just one low-level salary," I do not meant that the present caretaker could singlehandedly do it. I mean, what if Org. X put $40K toward a crypt repair blitz instead of hiring yet another functionary (and yes, functionaries are still being hired all around the Jewish nonprofit world). Of course this is not a realistic possibility.

David in Jamaica, NY: 12th Jan 2009 - 00:09 GMT

First I am awed and cannot thank EVERYONE for what they wrote in this site. I am a schoolteacher and have been a genealogist for 33 years. For several years I had done research* with others in all three cemeteries (the group broke up about 10 yers ago). We knew Mrs. Sheiker and Mr. Dare at Bayside. I knew Mr. Nekrutman and Desmond when they were the caretakers. It is absolutely IMPOSSIBLE to do what it would take to make Bayside Cemetery look respectable with just a one or two man crew. Personally I would be extremely willing to do whatever needs to be done to help Bayside with my time. I am familiar with many of the names mentioned. I was volunteering as best as I could to locate families of those interred. There was a file of "dead letters"--care bills that could not be forwarded to family members for payment. Shaare Zedek is 1000% correct in stating the facts regarding the Landsmanshaften Societies being defunct and how that has cut into care funds-------but still does not absolve someone (????) of the responsibility of caring for the 35,0000 Jewish brethen interred in those acres. I have said alot, I think, in this post and hope that I have not offended or come close to insulting any entity. I am just another person who cares. By the way---although I have not found the connection, there may be a distant relationship in my maternal side with the JANKELOWITZ family, a family interred in Bayside. *Several walks through the cemetery over the years made me witness to some upsetting sites--a human mandible just laying on the ground next to one of the gates. Going through death certificates during one stage of our research I came across the 1895 death and Bayside burial of a child, Bertha Tomashefsky, whose parents were Boris and Bessie!!!! Boris was the famous Yiddish Theatre actor!!!!!
I would like to hear from others. My email is:

David in Jamaica, NY: 13th Jan 2009 - 00:36 GMT

Ooops. I proofread but no god enough. I meant to say I cannot thank people enough about what they wrote. Each and every one of you are good people in expressing your care and at the same time shock and bewilderment regarding Bayside Cemetery. It should be pointed out that some of the photos I believe are from Acacia Cemetery which is a (now) separate cemetery from Bayside. Bayside is flanked by Mokom Sholom and Acacia which is managed by Mr. David Jacobson.

Rabbi Julia Andelman: 14th Jan 2009 - 03:58 GMT

Friends - Thank you for your comments. A response will be forthcoming.

NWhyC: 14th Jan 2009 - 04:08 GMT

So that means an "official" response, I assume. Hopefully this does not imply that it will be completely devoid of your personal feelings about the matter, or that it will merely be rehash of the same statements the Congregation has issued ad nauseum every other time this topic has popped up in mass-media.

I also really hope that your response includes the Congregations feelings on the situation at this cemetery (a few that I've spoken to are truly aghast by it and were completely unaware it was in this miserable a state), and most of all, a timeline that paints not only a clear picture of where you stand now in addressing this problem in any meaningful way, but also what you have planned, in the immediate future, to actually get it done.

Leslie: 14th Jan 2009 - 06:03 GMT

One thing I noticed in many of the comments was that Bayside Cemetery is abandoned. IT IS NOT. This cemetery is owned entirely by Shaare Zedek. Even when portions of a cemetery are sold to burial societies, it is only the right of burial that is sold. These portions ARE NOT deeded to the societies. Monies paid by the societies were paid to Shaare Zedek just as the monies for annual & perpetual care are paid to them. There are still burials that take place at Bayside Cemetery. According to the law in NYS perpetual care funds are supposed to be in a seperate account and only the interest received may be touched for the upkeep of the graves. The principal is never supposed to be touched.

I was one of the volunteer funeral director's that helped to re-entomb 32 bodies in 2003. If Shaare Zedek was concerned over the desecration they certainly did not show that concern. Not only could they not be bothered, they would not even send their rabbinical support and we needed to bring in Rabbi's from other congregations when we re-entombed the desecrated bodies. These small clean-ups are better then nothing but do little in clearing this overgrown cemetery. How do they expect their grounds keeper to maintain this cemetery with no equipment. He does not even have a lawn mower. Asking other groups to come and clean up the cemetery is a poor plan. This is technically a private cemetery. The city has no jurisdiction over this cemetery and will not provide personnel to clean it up. It will continue to be vandalized if it remains in its present condition. The perimeter of the cemetery is not secure. There is no security lighting. The overgrowth gives vandals the opportunity to go about their business undisturbed. Mausoleums that date back to before and to the turn of the century are being destroyed. The bronze doors and plaques have been removed and some of the beautiful Tiffany windows destroyed. The people who vandlize these crypts willfully desecrate the remains and leave them strewn about. They have removed parts of the human skeleton. I don't think that anyone would ever think that their final resting place or their bodies would be disturbed to this magnitude. Yes, many of the relatives of the deceased do not come to the cemetery and those that do must call ahead to tell the cemetery worker when they are coming and what grave they want to visit. He will attempt to clear the area where the grave is, but he is not always successful. I do believe that people have the right to visit the cemetery when they want and that they do not need to make a reservation. The condition of this cemetery is from years of neglect. Shaare Zedek admits that the cemetery is not in good repair but they say nothing about what they plan to do about it. When they do come to the cemetery to do a "clean-up", they only go to the area where the graves for their temple are. Pulling weeds and cutting ivy does not solve the problem. They must be removed from the root up or they will only grow again. The solution to right Bayside Cemetery will take money, man power and a plan for properly maintaining it.

Family Member of Two Here: 14th Jan 2009 - 06:31 GMT

I'll bet anyone here $10 that before too long, Shaare Zadek will put up a giant fence around this place then promptly forget it again. Out of sight, out of mind. Lots of money saved. I, too, am also very eager to see what the Rabbi has to tell us. No idea why it's taking over a month to get a response from her or anyone else though, but then again they're the ones that allowed the cemetery to become like this. Hmm! Any more photos anybody? I would really love to see my family's plot, which I have never been able to see in person... ASCHEIM

Newly Found Family Located Here: 14th Jan 2009 - 16:57 GMT

Great photos. It would be amazing if the pictures themselves were on Google Earth. You can post them for that purpose at Signup is free, and you geo-locate your shots using Google Earth. In a few months selected shots do appear on Google Earth. Also, create a "Tag" for Bayside Cemetery so others will join in and help spread the word or at least the images. - Good Luck.

i remember: 16th Jan 2009 - 02:42 GMT

when is the next group outing to bayside.

ntatap: 16th Jan 2009 - 23:54 GMT

I have known about the problems at Bayside for along time and I want to help. I work as a maintenance employee for a state transportation agency here in NYC. I work with some really talented and skilled people. I have tossed the idea around with some of my co-workers about getting a group of my co-workers together to volunteer to do repair work (ie: uprighting toppled stones, bricking up broken windows and doors, ect) I have already spoken to a few people already and they are interested in doing it. I plan on reaching out to more people at work. I am going to contact some people about maybe getting someone like a lumber/ brick yard to donate bricks, plywood and other supplies. I think if we set a small goal (like working a few weekends) we might be able to get something done. Does anyone have any ideas on how to get the ball rolling?

Bayside Watcher: 17th Jan 2009 - 16:18 GMT

I've read and reread this blog, looked at which has a lot of information and more pictures on it, read the various newspaper articles about problems at Bayside Cemetery going back many years, and I've personally been to Bayside Cemetery many times; and here are some thoughts:

- some people in this blog make comments about how it's OK for the cemetery to return to nature. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, I personally find the concept of the neglect of the cemetery offensive. First of all, this is a Jewish cemetery and I am Jewish and letting a cemetery become overgrown like Bayside Cemetery and return to nature is not in keeping with Jewish burial law and tradition. It is not consistent with the concept of Kevod ha-met (respect for the dead). So regardless of people's opinions, it's just not acceptable as a Jewish cemetery. There is no room for discussion on this topic.

- David in Jamaica's recent post about finding a human mandible lying on the ground is horrifying. Assuming David is correct in what he saw, can you imagine this? Isn't this the most outrageous, horrible, irresponsible, disgraceful condition you could ever imagine? Can you imagine your Mom dying and being laid to rest at Bayside Cemetery and Congregation Shaare Zedek who owns the cemetery allows the conditions of the place to get so bad that after vandals do their evil deeds that there are literally human bones lying around the place? Potentially your mother's bones? And there isn't some kind of immediate fix for the problem and the remains aren't gathered and restored to where they belong and the remains of the deceased protected in some way? C'mon! This is beyond discussion!!! We can't just type blog entries here and think this could ever be OK!? We can't sit at our desk chairs and type stuff about how we understand the congregation's predicament (even if the predicament is of their own making)! This is just plain unacceptable. There is no room for discussion on this topic.

- then looking up further in the blog there are pictures of desecrated mausoleums with bones lying on the ground and no doors on the structures to protect the descrated graves. How long have these remains been there? What is being done to fix this problem? Again, words can't capture the full scope of this. It is beyond words. There are literally open graves at Bayside Cemetery and nothing seems to be done about this. The people who took the pictures in this blog just visited the cemetery and took these pictures. They didn't have to look hard to find this. The problem is just sitting there for all to see. No sheets lying on top of the remains out of respect. No plywood to cover the entry ways. Just a wide open mausoleum with human remains scattered on the floor. Surely the NY City Health Department would be concerned about this? But regardless, this is so horrendous it is beyond words. Dead people's skeletons and bones are lying in the open and exposed!

- there are newspaper articles that talk about how the congregation misappropriated the cemetery's money. In people's comments above they seem to absolve the synagogue of dealing with the cemetery problems because people say the synagogue can't afford to fix the problems at the cemetery. Why is that? If they took the money from the cemetery which was improper (and maybe illegal), why should the synagogue not be responsible? Why should it become the larger jewish community's problem to fix? Why is it the descendents of the deceased at the cemetery's problem to fix (even if they feel a moral pull to do it)? It seems to me the blame and the responsibility to fix up the cemetery falls squarely on Congregation Shaare Zedek. How could it be anyone else's problem?

- I have read above about comments and offers to help from many people. One good hearted person just above this comment offered some amazing services, materials and skills to help the problems at Bayside Cemetery. But keep in mind all that needs to be done first. Human remains need to be reintered in proper containers (caskets), crypts need to be resealed, real doors need to be installed or constructed for the mausoleums because it's not right to just seal the buildings shut forever (there's a reason why people wanted to build a mausoleum - you're supposed to be able to go inside), etc. The offers to fix and right headstones is a good one as long as there is proper supervision to ensure that the correct stones get put in the correct spots. But who is liable if a stone falls and breaks more? Also, Bayside Cemetery is not a public space where good intentioned people can unilaterally chip in and do things. It's a privately owned cemetery under the control of Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan. So they are the ones that people need to pressure, holler at and make offers to. The good intentioned and generous people on this blog have no control or right to do anything or effect any change without Congregation Shaare Zedek's direct and active participation. They ignored my offer to help a couple of years ago. I read in this blog above that they have done the same by ignoring others.

ntatap: 17th Jan 2009 - 18:50 GMT

Bayside Watcher I agree with you. If my group goes out there I want to respect the wishes of the people that mater the most, the families. I think that the open tombs have to be closed in some fashion for there own safety, even if only with plywood. If they are left open they are sitting ducks that will continue to be pillaged by thieves of opportunity. I do agree that they should be correctly repaired at some point by professionals. At this point something has to be done to protect this place until these wrongs are righted. Please understand that I do agree that people should be allowed to visit there families tombs as they were originally were intended but I fear that if somthing is not done soon there will be no tombs to visit.

Sarah Beck: 18th Jan 2009 - 01:07 GMT

I am curious to know what's the story with the Coalition for Jewish At-Risk Cemeteries (not exact name) mentioned in the court papers on

Also from, it appears that the UJA has pledged $140K to the project.

There is NO DOUBT that Shaare Zedek has a _moral_ responsibility for this cemetery. As I said in my comment above, they should at LEAST be leading the fight. Which they are obviously not doing. A "schande for the goyim," a public disgrace of the Jews in front of non-Jews, if there ever was one.

But it is a real question what their legal/financial responsibility is. Perhaps some of the dead purchased perpetual care from SZ. Perhaps some of the dead purchased p.c. from the now-defunct burial societies (landmanschaften). Perhaps some of the societies contracted to do their own care. Perhaps some of the societies contracted only for the right to bury, agreeing that SZ would do care. Who knows? It depends on the contracts, of which there are doubtless many permutations.

Take an extreme scenario for the sake of argument--say SZ dissolved their cong. and liquidated their assets, devoting the entire sum to Bayside and setting up some sort of endowment. Without broad-based Jewish communal involvement (and money), I'd bet that things would look much the same in 20 years even if SZ did this. SZ is a big piece of the solution, obviously, but they can't be the only piece.

I'm sure there's a lot of information on ALL sides that we're missing.

Sarah Beck: 18th Jan 2009 - 01:13 GMT

Normally I'd say that guerrilla/freelance/volunteer action would only give the official stakeholders (SZ, the burial societies' successor organizations, and this mythical coalition) a reason to duck their responsibilities.

But in this case, the problem is so vast that another 5 people reburied here or there wouldn't even begin to let people off the hook. And another 5 people would be resting in peace least for now.

AP: 18th Jan 2009 - 23:47 GMT

Still no reply from Congregation Shaare Zedek or Rabbi Julia Andelman. Imagine that. Perhaps avoidance is their tactic?

Sarah Beck: 19th Jan 2009 - 20:48 GMT

The person I'd like to hear from is Mr. Richard Friedman, president of the board. R. Andelman (like all congregational rabbis) is their employee.

Steven Cahn: 20th Jan 2009 - 05:04 GMT

I have family interred at Bayside. I am familiar with the litigation, and with Congregation SZs pattern of avoidance. There is virtually no effort made to ensure that any gains made from "community service projects" aren't lost to nature's growth. The same pattern of gardening with "weed whackers" has been employed for over a decade. It is painfully slow and allows for no advances to be made. As soon as one area is cleared, the previous one needs maintenance. Equipment donated to the cemetery is allowed to fall into disrepair. Suggestions for better, more efficient methods of maintenance are ignored. It is simply a deplorable situation and it is unbelievable that a shul is at the center of the controversy. I have no direct knowledge about the alleged misappropriation of funds, but a close reading of the court documents leads one to believe that there is simply no basis for Congregation SZs defense. The same tired arguments are shuffled and re-dealt in each round of court papers submitted. As Bayside Watcher said many times above -there is no room for discussion on this matter.

I have led many cleanup efforts with Boy Scout troops and with the Solomon Schechter High School of Long Island. I have suggested cleanups as Eagle Scout community service projects. It only takes a few months before the work is lost to time. So it is clear to me that volunteer efforts are futile.

The first step is to stop the bleeding.

(1) Money is needed to re-entomb remains, to seal and protect each mausoleum, and to secure the perimeter of the cemetery.
(2) Security cameras are needed to catch vandals in the act, and local community watch groups need to monitor the cameras to notify police when the property is breached.
(3) The gates need to be closed and locked, with appointments necessary for controlled visitation. The gates are left wide open all day while the only "supervision" is deep in the cemetery, behind a wall of trees and high grass, and insulated by the sound of gasoline engines on the weed whackers. Intruders come and go day or night with no impediments to their evil deeds.
(4) All those with family buried in Bayside should contact the attorney for the Plaintiff in the ongoing lawsuit. All should sign up to be part of the litigation. Go to www. for information.
(5) Congregation Shaare Zedek needs to step up to the plate and take moral and financial responsibility for their calculated inaction, and stop hiding behind obfuscation and baseless arguments made by slick attorneys.

Frankly, although it seems terrible to think about closing an active shul, they should sell their building to replace the money taken from the maintenance fund, and raise the remainder to fulfill their obligation to maintain the cemetery. The congregants have other davening alternatives... the disgraced souls in Bayside do not. I understand that it is the current congregation that is being punished for the misdeeds of the former synagogue officers and administration... but oftentimes in modern society it can be generations before the full effect of ill-advised decisions are felt.

AP: 21st Jan 2009 - 15:11 GMT

Wow.... Just.... wow. And still no answer from Shaare Zedek.

anon ( 23rd Jan 2009 - 06:43 GMT

Does Shaare Zedek have a complete internment list of this cemetery? If not who does? Many people doing their genealogy are particularly interested in grave sites of ancestors. Older Jewish tombstones are particularly rich in genealogical information. Additionally, knowing which of the many landschaft organizations their families belonged to is very useful in figuring out which shtetl their ancestors came from. I have been reviewing death certificates of possible family members that they are buried at Bayside. If the tombstone is still intact it probably has this potential family member's father's name. I'm sure I am not the only hobby geneologist that doesn't live anywhere near NYC who would be willing to make a donation for a digital photo and the internment information of this family member. You mention that there are 39000 old graves...

Barbara: 23rd Jan 2009 - 19:19 GMT

I live locally and i want to help anyway I can!
It's disgusting and a total disgrace to human kind.
How can I get involved and get this place cleaned up?

David in Jamaica: 25th Jan 2009 - 22:05 GMT

At the first hint of warm weather, it would be great for all those who have posted here to get together for a clean-up and afterwards, a lunch or dinner. I volunteer for the clean-up and to help make some arrangements for a get-together afterwards. But only if I know people are interested in this idea. But this does not lessen the situation at hand. Whether a Jewish cemetery or that of another religion,this should NOT be happening to a cemetery.

ntatap: David you can count me in.

Adam: 26th Jan 2009 - 16:35 GMT

If you people are serious about organizing a cleanup, please email me at I'm going to setup a mailing list of everyone interested and we'll pick out a day when its warmer out to head over there as a group.

AP: 28th Jan 2009 - 14:43 GMT

I think its pretty telling that its been over a month and still no word from , aside from the tease offered us earlier. What a shame. Makes one wonder if their approach here isn't that much different from their approach to the problems at this cemetery- avoidance. Hmm. Do you think that some of the more than ten thousand people who have viewed this article so far might be curious for some answers from or ? I know I sure am.

Renee: 28th Jan 2009 - 16:10 GMT

I am also. I've posted several comments here, some addressing Rabi Andelman directly. I have also urged other readers to call the congregation directly and have readily supplied their phone number and email addresses. Long story short... we all know they're not going to do anything especially with litigations going on. I try to find an ounce of
pity for them knowing that they've inherited this mess from their
predecessors but when I hear about renovations being made to their UWS
facility... that pity turns to anger. There's so many people here willing
to help but they don't care enough to try to come up with a gameplan and reach out to us. It's their dirty little secret and they just want it all to go away and not do anything. Perhaps they need a coming out party. A "peaceful" demonstration arranged outside of their UWS congregation one Saturday holding pictures stating "This cemetery is owned by Shaare Zedek, would you want your loved ones final resting place to be here"?

Rabbi Julia Andelman: 30th Jan 2009 - 01:19 GMT


I apologize for the delay in responding. I care very much about this issue and have spent many, many hours working on our long-term strategy for restoring Bayside during the time that the comments here have accumulated, as I have for the last two years since I joined Shaare Zedek. Since the synagogue’s leadership has put thousands of hours of work into addressing this very complex problem over the last several years, it is difficult to summarize the situation and offer you succinct answers. I attempted to do that in my first posting on this site, but my summary generated many more requests for further information. As I began to draft responses to your questions and comments, more and more postings continued to come in. It soon became clear that it would be best to compile one comprehensive response to your many queries. We have been working very hard on this and I promise that I will share it with you as soon as I possibly can. For this reason we have not been responding to individual emails or posts in the meantime. It is frustrating for me as well not to be able to respond to your comments quickly, especially as some of them include personal attacks on my character. But I am trying to spend my time on what I hope will be a truly helpful and informative response. I appreciate your continued patience.

Rabbi Julia Andelman

AP: 30th Jan 2009 - 04:20 GMT

In other words, you're being very guarded and not at all forthcoming about your reply. As expected.

All we asked for is a brief timeline. You could spell that out in a few short sentences, you know?

So still, we hold out breath....

Es iz nit geshtoygen un nit gefloygen!

Renee: 30th Jan 2009 - 15:14 GMT

Dear Rabbi Julia Andelman. First off - let me say again that I am aware that you inherited this mess. I am also aware that with litigations you have to be very careful how you word things hence the vague responses.
I do however thank you for those, it shows me and the others here that you are at least reading this board and are curious enough to see what's going on here. We really don't mean to be a thorn in your side (personally) but if we don't instigate this and get the word and the pictures out there, it will just continue to go unnoticed.

Please - again, if anything/something, you have to get those crypts sealed off. There are too many of them being violated and remains being
desecrated. Why not start there? SOMETHING IS BETTER THAN NOTHING!
Secure the crypts and then let's figure out how to handle mother nature.
I really hope that you will consider consulting with Columbia University.
Their dept of ecology & environment really seemed to have put a great deal of time and effort into their findings a few years back. I think they'd have alot to offer or at least point you in the right direction.
An "attempt" really needs to be made in show of good faith that the congregation cares and that's only going to happen if you start somewhere. SEAL OFF THE CRYPTS - PLEASE!

Sarah Beck: 2nd Feb 2009 - 13:47 GMT

Do note re: Columbia's plan that they are primarily interested in restoring the cemetery qua habitat, not qua cemetery--they want to preserve or even extend the forested area.

Renee: 2nd Feb 2009 - 16:09 GMT

Hi Sarah. I've read a few of your comments and you appear as passionate as many of us do about this cemetery. I just need to point something out. If you're reading the same article that I am dated Dec '06...
Yes they found this cemetery an ecosystem mecca. Yes they want to do what's best for the multitude of creatures already inhabitating
the place. However, they also discuss how there are alot of intrusive plant species that are causing harm to that very same ecosystem. While they do discuss creating ponds, and planting additional trees, they also discuss removing trees, saplings, ground covering, etc that
are not conducive to the environment. At the end of the report, they estimate what it would take both financially and man power
to get the place into what they feel is an:

"Ecological restoration (that) would also restore some dignity to those buried in the cemetery and their families".

I think that's all that any of us here really want is to restore dignity
to those buried there... right?

While it is expensive (obviously more now with the two year difference), it does not seem unrealistic to a congregation based on the Upper West Side of Manhattan that just had a Superbowl party with their 50" tv.

It really is a fascinating article.
If anyone here would like to read it, here's the link

I really hope that they get the ball rolling on this.

Bayside Watcher: 3rd Feb 2009 - 12:26 GMT

Renee - with all due respects, I think your passion for Bayside Cemetery doesn't quite focus on the right issues if you think that the solution is to have a bunch of ecologists come in and remove invasive plant species and install some ponds to maintain the ecosystem. Ecosystem? What are they talking about?

Bayside Cemetery is in the middle of a mostly paved over neighborhood in the middle of Ozone Park Queens! Bayside Cemetery shouldn't be an ecosystem, it should be a cemetery. It doesn't need more trees as the article suggests but rather the place should be virtually clear cut and then once it is, then some decorative dwarfed trees can be planted like in any cemetery. Ponds? That's ridiculous. Bayside Cemetery has 35,000 graves in it. Virtually every inch of the place has burial plots.

Also, this Columbia University study was done by a student - who's probably graduated by now. This was a school project and not a legitimate restoration study. As Sarah says in this blog, this was a study to deal with the habitat and not the cemetery.

The study talks about ivy removal and 'Forest Expansion'. Forest Expansion! What? Expansion? For goodness sakes, that's the last thing Bayside Cemetery needs is forest expansion?!

$28,000 for cat proofing? How about people proofing to keep the vandals out? The cats can stay, the vandals should go.

I have family buried at Bayside Cemetery. Several of the other people who have commented in this blog do too. So as one person who is directly and personally and emotionally impacted by what I see when I visit Bayside Cemetery, I have to say that comments like this really upset me. Perhaps I'm too thin skinned but to watch people Google around and find stuff like this study and put it forward as if it's a viable solution to the problems at Bayside Cemetery seems like the boat is really being missed.

In your post of Dec 18, 2008 you said "I am appalled by the conditions of this cemetery" and then you talked about how families paid Congregation Shaare Zedek to bury/entomb their loved ones and then you talk about how a mere cutting of the grass in a reliable way keeps cemeteries from looking like this one. Then you talk later that same day about your research where Congregation Shaare Zedek took the cemetery's money and used it to renovate their synagoue building. Then you talk more about how awful this all is and then you say "I hope they are sued for millions and forced to restore the cemetery to what it should look like based on their promise of perpetual care when they took everyones money".

Then on Dec 23 you begin to focus on this Columbia University study and talk about it more than once subsequently. And now you seem to think that this Columbia Study is THE solution to the Bayside Cemetery problem.

Please read through the Columbia study carefully and get out your red pen like a teacher and start marking it up. Focus particularly on the Budget, Labor and Funding section. Do you think this student did an adequate job researching this? Does the annual recurring labor cost include FICA, Medicaid, benefits, Workers Compensation insurance, health insurance, liability insurance, equipment costs? And the cemetery needs to be maintained all year and not just for 200 days. It's a cemetery, people are supposed to be able to go there to visit their loved ones' graves. The cemetery is supposed to be a semi-public place. Do you think 10 gallons of herbicide would defoliate all the ivy in Bayside Cemetery? Did the student research if the NYC Parks Dept would adopt Bayside? Why would they? Why should they? What about the costs to maintain the physical aspects of the place like the fencing, the roads and walkways, electricity and heat for the building, lighting to deter vandals, etc. The student was very specific selecting landscape plant species like Shagbark Hickory but not as thorough doing a proper financial and fiscal analysis. Perhaps the study helps establish a floor for maintenance but it certainly doesn't seem to set the standard for a correct analysis.

So I guess I must ask Renee, what happened to your outrage?

How do you think that some well intentioned graduate student's research paper is the answer to this problem?

What happened to making Congregation Shaare Zedek accountable for dealing with their problem - the problem that they created and perpetuate?

Renee: 3rd Feb 2009 - 16:00 GMT

Hey Bayside Watcher. It sounds like your venting your anger in the wrong direction. I'm am not the bad guy here. It's seems like you put alot of time and effort into scrolling up and reviewing all my blogs so you can
throw my own words back at me. It's unfortunate that you failed to see that my main concern is how appalled I am by the condition of the cemetery and how the crypts are being vandalized. Did you notice how I urged people to contact the congregation directly and even provided their phone number and email address or that a couple of my blogs here are addressed to the Rabbi directly pleading for her to "start somewhere/anywhere"? Did you fail to notice that I also suggested a "peaceful" demonstration outside of their UWS facility and right after that post guess what... we heard from the Rabbi again? It's saddens me personally that you cannot see how passionate I feel about this and dare to ask what happened to my outrage. You insinuate that I'm all about
promoting this one report by one student at Columbia University suggesting that I view it as biblical. The purpose of even bringing up that one article is that anyone here including yourself who has visited or even viewed the pictures call tell that NATURE plays A HUGE part of why this cemetery is in such disrepair. Plants have been introduced to this cemetery that should not be there. Ivy was probably planted by someone's loved one and without maintenance, spread like a cancer. It creeps up the trees sucking the life out of them and causes them in whole or in part to topple over destroying whatever is in their path. Saplings are sprouting up all over literally rooting through graves, etc. I am not a biologist or an ecologist and I'm pretty sure that no one at the CSZ is either. I was just merely using that as a stepping stone and pointing out that someone took the time to research this and hopefully with more research from professionals it can be rectified. I don't have family buried there like you do. I'm not even Jewish. I'm just an appalled individual that can't understand how any organization can treat their dead so disrespectfully. Just one individual moved by pictures who tried to stir the pot and create waves in hopes for change. But you know, without family buried there, what concern is it of mine or the thousands of others reading this blog?

It DOESN'T concern me. So on that note, I'll stop the blogs, stop the phonecalls and emails to CSZ. Stop forwarding this blog to friends who have friends, etc who like me, try to make a difference.

As Cartlegger stated... I think I'll just "observe and enjoy the inertia of this passionate & informed debate". Over and out. I'm sure the Rabbi Andelman will be relieved about that, she wasn't a huge fan of mine.

Bayside Watcher: 3rd Feb 2009 - 20:26 GMT

Renee - my apologies if I lashed out at you. As I said above, I am thin skinned on this issue.

There are numerous posts in this and other blogs about a variety of issues which to me seem ancillary to the core issues about what is wrong at Bayside Cemetery. But exploring all the angles is indeed constructive so I should be careful next time with my posting. All those who post are well intentioned, including clearly you - so please don't fall silent but continue in the dialogue.

What I am trying to express is the issue of accountability and who is accountable and why they are accountable. To me it is clear that accountability rests with Congregation Shaare Zedek.

My concern is that by having a focus on things like the Columbia ecosystem study or something similar is that it presumes that some kind of one time cleanup is what is needed. While clearly a one time effort is needed, to do so once will help for the next x years but beyond x, things will work their way back to what they are today. As you said Mother Nature will see to that. I think, a remediation and a permanent solution need to be found in tandem so that we all can go on with our lives and know that Bayside Cemetery will be in good hands now and forever.

My comments about the Columbia study, critical as they may be, were done to point out the need for anything that is done should be carefully, thoughtfully and professionally designed and executed. Not by students or researchers or volunteers or good natured people but rather by a concerted professional effort managed and led by CSZ or their designee since it is clearly their problem to fix - from an effort and financial and moral and ethical perspective.

I agree that, as you say, the problem is CSZ's to fix. So we all await CSZ's solution.

I will stay passionate about the Bayside Cemetery issue and I hope you will too.

Renee: 4th Feb 2009 - 17:24 GMT

I will. You know what they say about cutting one's nose off to spite
their face.

The families fights to date are endless and fruitless. Luckily for forums like this, the issue is being brought to the attention of thousands. Hopefully they too have expressed outrage putting CSZ in an
'uncomfortable' position of having to answer to so many. You (the families) need all the advocates you can get. I personally have nothing to gain from this cemetery being restored. I have no family buried there. I don't live near there. I am not part of litigations. I just believe the dead should be treated with respect and dignity and I hope my one little voice can help you with that. Peace.

Sarah Beck: 6th Feb 2009 - 18:33 GMT

Friends, rabotai ugvirotai [my gentlemen and ladies],

At this point, we're just a bunch of well-intentioned people repeating ourselves. So I will try not to do that.

1. As I said above (ha!), R. Andelman is an _employee_ of Shaare Zedek. There might be a popular misconception about the role of clergy (of any religion) vis-a-vis their congregations. Rabbis (and ministers) are hired and fired by their boards. They are not signatories on the congregational accounts and they do not have the final (or, usually, much of any) say on money matters. The people to be called to account (pun intended) are the TRUSTEES of Shaare Zedek, whose names, addresses, places of employment, etc., are freely available on the web. In more benign matters, yes, a rabbi acts as a spokesperson, but to expect R. Andelman to reply in detail (and on a blog, no less) on matters of pending litigation, or re: money in general, is not realistic. That is for the board.

R. Andelman's good name should not be used as a synonym for "what went wrong at Shaare Zedek." The interests of the dead (and the living) can best be served by engaging her, along with other spiritual leaders and teachers of Scripture, as ALLIES in this disgraceful mess.

2. Regarding allies, does anyone know whether there's been an organized outreach to the synagogue membership on this matter? That is ultimately where the solution will come from...actual stakeholders. Before peaceful demonstrations, I would try mailings and phone calls. Most people in the congregation are probably not aware of exactly how bad conditions are. Overgrown is one thing, human mandibles quite another. Just as it won't do to have well-meaning white liberals swoop down into an "urban" neighborhood to solve its problems, so too the solution here has to come from within. Has anyone reading this spoken to actual current members?

3. Earlier I posted a link to a Google group (a mailing list) I created. It is called friendsofbayside. But I think the anti-spam robot deleted it because there shouldn't be links in the comments. If you would like to join, and can't navigate the Google groups website, then email me at beckse on gmail. We need a way to keep in touch with one another. As a group, we should approach the relevant people and agencies. If someone has an alternative idea for keeping in touch and/or organizing, say so. Just from the comments above, Adam at, as well as John Lucker,, have been taking names, but it would be good to start a structure independent of any one person's email list.

And let me encourage people to sign their full names. It keeps things civil.

In friendship,
Sarah Beck

Lisa: 18th Feb 2009 - 18:06 GMT

I live down the block from Bayside/Acacia Cemetery, The last time I was in there I was about 8 years old, I used to be deathly afraid of living near it. Than my mother took me there to show me there was nothing scary about it. It was so clean and peaceful. I still live near the cemetary and it's a shame how nobody takes care of it now. I spoke with someone who works there and they said they have no money to pay employees to keep the grounds clean. There is grafitti around the whole brick wall and the wrought iron gate was recently knocked down due to some immature jerks who vandalized the graves. Now someone is suing the people who bought the land because his parents are buried there and is pissed they were vandalized.

Peter: 3rd Mar 2009 - 03:03 GMT

in case you havent seen it yet, be sure to check out sean's post, which shows lots of new perspectives of this cemetery after last night's big snowstorm...

Nameless Cricke: 4th Mar 2009 - 20:54 GMT

It's so beautiful, and so very very sad that so much damage has been done it it by douchebags.
I wish that I lived near there, I would go volunteer to tidy it. That should really be one of the first steps, gathers those among the congregation to volunteer to help fight back the over growth and try an make it a monthly or so odd thing after they get it to a decent state. Yes there is only minimum that that can do, but overgrown cemeteries are more likely to to attract those who are the type to do what has been done to this one. They would still have to make arrangements for the exposed remains and such.
I'm not even jewish, I'm not anything really, but the dead should be respected. The person themselves may not be there anymore, but it's not right to damage their place of rest.

Abe: 12th Mar 2009 - 18:19 GMT

This is a photo from inside the area Bayside Watcher refers to as the "Amazon Rain Forest during summer". It's only a few hundred feet off Liberty Avenue(if that much). I thought the shot I took said it all until I saw the other photos posted here. What a shame.

Abe: [[img:31346]]

Photo of the Amazon Rain Forest: 16th Mar 2009 - 15:01 GMT

This should link the photo above. If the message is too short the photo doesn't display. Bayside Cemetery in the summer. image 31346

Alice: 18th Mar 2009 - 16:32 GMT

I have lived across Liberty Avenue from this cemetary for 28 years and watched it deteriorate steadily. The most I've ever seen as far as caretaking is mowing the grass on Liberty Avenue and down 84th street once or twice a year, and when it snows, they throw dirt on top of it. That's it. Oh, by the way, I think I've spotted a cell phone tower in the cemetary down on Pitkin Avenue, but I went by quickly, so I'm not sure. Now, THAT'S a real shame.

Azi: 23rd Mar 2009 - 19:58 GMT

I visited there this past summer and the grave i was looking for had it's tombstone broken in half by a large tree that grew directly on top of it. I had to crawl through a maze of trees and vines to get to the grave. its horrible. thank God i didnt see any of the disintered graves.

Azi: 23rd Mar 2009 - 20:02 GMT

image 31756

This photo was taken at Bayside. It's the grave of Abraham Aaron Yudelovitch, Rabbi of the Eldridge Street Synagogue. Died 1930.

Peter: any idea what the hebrew on that tombstone says?

Azi: 23rd Mar 2009 - 22:02 GMT

Hebrew: here lies our father and teacher, the genius and great rabbi, Abraham Aaron the son of B. Yudalevich. the aurthor of several books, grandson of the great and righteous rabbi Mayer Marim, aurthor of several books, and descendant of the Maharm Paduwa and Mari Mintz (two rabbis from several centuries ago). Died on the 5th day of the hebrew month of shevat. may his soul be bound up in the bond of life (a verse from the book of Samuel).

Azi: 23rd Mar 2009 - 22:52 GMT

These are photos of the Jewish cemetery in Warsaw, Poland. There are hundreds of thousands of burials there and is pretty understandably a full forest now.

This may be the future of Bayside Cemetery. And it's right in the middle of the largest Jewish community in the world (outside of Israel). It's just unbelievable.

image 31759

image 31760

image 31757

image 31758

image 31761

Abe: 24th Mar 2009 - 13:38 GMT

Azi...I think this is Bayside now (or of the past), not Bayside of the future. Obviously in size there is no comparison to Warsaw. But if you go further back toward Liberty Avenue parts of Bayside are much worse than the Warsaw pictures you chose to post. The paths are impassable and there are mounds of garbage bags where they shouldn't be. Have you seen the other post (#7034) of this section of the Bayside?

area51: Great collection. Thanks.

Lisa: 19th Apr 2009 - 05:46 GMT

Yes, that is a T-Mobile cell phone tower at the cemetary. T-Mobile is supposably paying them $2,000 a month. Hopefully they can start using some of that money to clean up the cemetary.

Nic Stage: 30th Apr 2009 - 19:44 GMT

As others have said, I think this is a two pronged issue of letting things return to nature and respect for the dead. Personally, I really like to see nature reclaiming burial sites. That is the way of things when we die: we return to the earth. The images from the Polish cemetary I find quaint and no more unpleasant or objectionable (That is: not at all unpleasant or objectionable) than the Native American burial mounds found throughout the wilderness in the part of the world I live in (Wisconsin, USA).

However, the signs of meddling and outright vandalism and robbery are very unsettling. I think that is what the owners of these locations should be held to answer to to society in general. If the Jewish faith calls for continued upkeep and caretaking of the grounds, then the owners are also responsible for that to the Jewish community.

Afroblanco: How perpetual is "perpetual care"?

Bayside Watcher: 4th May 2009 - 18:25 GMT

Thank you Nic Stage for recognizing that some people's aesthetics are not in keeping with Jewish tradition. There is deep tradition in the Jewish faith where the principle of "Kavod Hamet" means respect for the dead. Respect for the dead includes respectful maintenance of the cemetery grounds forever... in perpetuity... longer than we are all around. While some may not agree with that or would prefer the cemetery to be forestlike, that is NOT what those who purchased gravesites and perpetual care services at Bayside Cemetery paid for, We can get into a long discussion over natural versus unnatural but the circumstances of this situation are simple. Congregation Shaare Zedek has been paid millions of dollars over the years for graves, services and perpetual care contracts. By their own admission printed in a NY Daily News article, someone or some group improperly/illegaly took the money and used all/portion of it for the synagogue. These monies are not the synagogue's but rather by NY State Cemetery Law those funds are the cemetery's and should be maintained 100% separately and not used for anything but the cemetery. In any other circumstance when that much money gets taken, police get called, investigations take place, and people go to jail in handcuffs. It is mystifying to me how that has not happened here and why law enforcement agencies have not pursued this matter more aggressively. I guess this is what happens when people are more focused on the living than the dead. However the ethical issues at play here are broad and profound and deeply impact the living - the living being all the 100's of thousands or even millions of descendants of the 35,000 people buried at Bayside Cemetery. So the living are deeply impacted here and as a society we must recognize that and respect it in my opinion.

Bayside Watcher: 4th May 2009 - 18:38 GMT

By the way, when are we going to hear back from Rabbi Andelman of Congregation Shaare Zedek, the owner of Bayside Cemetery? On January 30, 2009, Rabbi Andelman said in this Blog "I am trying to spend my time on what I hope will be a truly helpful and informative response. I appreciate your continued patience." It's now been 3 months since her posting here. We are patient but why does it take so long to post her thoughts on these issues? As a Rabbi, surely she must be ethically and morally concerned about the multitude of issues swirling around the Bayside Cemetery situation?! Again, as a Rabbi, I would assume she would want action and movement to right this incredible wrong. And it's her synagogue in the wrong since Bayside Cemetery is owned by her synagogue!

Maryellen: 5th May 2009 - 03:13 GMT

My great-grandparents, Hyman & Nancy Lewis at Bayside in 1901 & 1894. Other family members were buried here as well. The last internment I remember dates back

Esther: 11th May 2009 - 19:28 GMT

The problem with lack of care and vandalism is that most of the graves are so old that no one alive today has any living memory of those buried there.

Anon: 11th May 2009 - 19:50 GMT

That's not true, Esther. There were many graves dating from the early 2000s, and even one comparatively newly-used grave the last time I was there. Regardless, memory or not, the people buried in those graves paid for Perpetual Care. Where is their perpetual care? Where is the money they paid for it? Oh, it was all used to repair the roof on the Shaare Zedek's Uptown Manhattan Synagogue! Kavod Ha'met my ass!

Abe: 12th May 2009 - 13:37 GMT

There was a burial in Bayside as recently as March 15, 2009.

Daisy: 12th May 2009 - 17:20 GMT

The natural overgrowth doesn't bother me at all. I kind of think that's what it should look like, to some degree. It somehow, in my mind, emphasizes the idea of quiet rest. I don't care too much for meticulously manicured gardens either. I like it natural and undone.. But the broken slabs, exposed remains, and careless trash (bowling ball) is just terrible. The remains should be reinterred, the leaves should perhaps be swept out of the crypts, and if they catch the punks that like to bowl in a cemetary, they should be whipped in the public square. :-)
Now I understand a restoration would take funds.. reinterring remains, and repairing broken crypts.. but it doesnt cost anything to grab a broom and pick up trash. Lack of money is a lame excuse to leave a bowling ball and broken chairs sitting in a cemetary.

Daisy: 12th May 2009 - 18:49 GMT

After reading all of the posts, looking at all of the pics, and reading the litigation site, I see this issue is much more complicated than I thought at first glance. It's blatantly obvious that the blame for the disrepair lies with SZ.. it's equally clear they should be the ones to fix the problem. But that doesn't mean that volunteer efforts should be abandoned. Every little bit helps, and people who care should still do what they CAN to help. It is never ok to stand by, and do nothing to right a wrong, just because you were not the one to cause the problem.. or because your small effort isn't enough to fix a problem forever. Don't worry about what you can't do "forever." Do what you can today.

FromAPointOfView: 14th May 2009 - 20:53 GMT

I stumbled across this site and all I can say is that I feel very sorry for the people who can allow this to go on. Men and women of the cloth allowing something as disturbing as this to happen is utterly shameful. How greedy and selfish the people in this world can be. I hope those who have attachment to this cemetery (living and dead) can reclaim it and make it beautiful again.

Lynda Burgos: 22nd May 2009 - 13:28 GMT

This site is good to inform people about the neglect and vandalism plagueing this old cemetery.

lesley pearson: 26th May 2009 - 19:21 GMT

the pictures are unbelievable. im not sure if they are great or disturbing. I find it horribly disrespectful the way that this cemetery is unkept. i hope that someone finds it in their hearts to fix this up.

Babushkah: 2nd Jun 2009 - 15:05 GMT

My great granfather Saul and his family are interred there in an old family mausoleum since 1886.However,the family today has no deed or keys to this old relic and can not access or claim it.Needless to say,the family mausoleum is a mess,vandalized,filthy and completely block and cemented over in the doorway and old stained glass rear window that was destroyed by vandals bank in the 70's.

rod: 3rd Jun 2009 - 21:23 GMT


can't you bring a locksmith on your own and have the door opened?

M. Friedberg: 17th Jun 2009 - 18:36 GMT

I recently found out that my Great Uncle Ira Friedberg was buried in this cemetery in 1918, after doing an ancestry search. I was saddend to find how run down the grounds were and the destruction and vandalism that has taken place over the years. While I hold no hope in finding his grave, I will visit and walk through the grounds with thoughts of him as I pass through.

Lisa: 17th Jun 2009 - 19:22 GMT

I grew up in this neighborhood and I've always loved this cemetery. As a kid, I used to go in to explore the grounds and take solace in the quiet there. Gave me a deep respect for such places and the people buried within. It always disgusted me how the place was kept and how some would vandalize the monuments. I always wanted to do something about it. The overgrowth adds a certain quality to the place that I don't think should be fussed with, it is over hundred years old. But I think the monuments should be fixed as best possible, the graffiti removed and the trash hauled out. Though I've moved away now I would definitely go back to the neighborhood to help in any cleanup / restoration efforts.

Steven: 13th Jul 2009 - 02:39 GMT

I was in the cemetery this morning. There was a watchman in the building on the Pitkin Ave side. No problem to walk around. He said a contractor is clearing trees / shrubs. How was this arranged? A new cell phone tower has gone up on the corner - did any proceeds go to the clean up?

Steven: 15th Jul 2009 - 19:52 GMT

Some questions and comments - I noticed on Google maps, that the present cell phone tower (southwest corner of the cemetery) is on an area once covered with tombstones. Was the tower built over the dead? Were any graves "moved"? Who negotiated this transaction? Is the reported $2000 / month (no "up front" payment?) used for clearing/maintenance? Who is doing the current work of clearing the cemetery? What are the costs? I grew up in nearby Howard Beach and traveled "over" the cemetery in the A train on Liberty Ave. It is only in the last two years that I have had the courage to take a close up look. It is beyond belief that a civilized nation could allow such degradation and desecration in the heart of a residential community. This cemetery is not hidden - it is there, in plain sight. Vandals see this overgrown, ignored graveyard as an easy "mark". Harder to be caught, and, hey, if you, the very people who "own" this place don't care, why should they. I am in no way absolving these animals of their heinous behavior, but a clean up will go a long way in reducing this plague. Much like the movement to save and protect cemeteries in Eastern Europe, the Jewish community should mobilize to do the same for a "house of the living" in our own backyard. A group of Jewish "leaders" should be taken to the cemetery post haste - see what it looks like in person. A picture cannot convey the abject despair one feels in this place. A combination of fund raising (to pay for the "heavy" clearing) as well as volunteers (to handle the less difficult but time consuming work of cleaning small brush, fixing stones, etc.) should be undertaken by the Jewish community. We should ALL be ashamed!

Bayside Watcher: 20th Jul 2009 - 02:02 GMT

Steven... you are so right... however the story of Bayside Cemetery is much more complex than just summoning the NYC Jewish community to do the right thing. It's actually also predicated on the owner of the cemetery, Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan, who allegedly misappropriated the cemetery's funds to use for their own purposes despite law and fiduciary obligations. They even admitted to doing so in a NY Daily News article (note that there is NO SUCH THING as non-restricted fiduciary cemetery funds according to NY State Cemetery Law). For more information about all this, go to

L. Young: 20th Jul 2009 - 22:33 GMT

I am shocked and saddened by these pics. My gr-gr grandfather Charles Joseph and his wife are buried there according to my grandfather, any sign of a Joseph tombstone there? I have been wanting to visit the cemetery, but I guess it is not a good place to venture as a lone senior citizen woman.

Florence Marmor: 17th Aug 2009 - 17:18 GMT

I have been researching Bayside, Acacia and Mokom Sholom Cemeteries for many years now. This project began because my future friend and partner was searching for his great-grandmother's grave in Mokom Sholom Cemetery. All death certificates until the 1960's have Mokom Sholom burials as "place of interment Bayside Cemetery" and part of Acacia known as the New Fields which straddles the border between Acacia and Bayside also has Bayside as the place of interment. Acacia is totally separate from Bayside as is Mokom Sholom. Acacia belonged to the Pike St. Synagogue in Manhattan, Mokom Sholom to Congregation Darech Amuno in Manhattan and Bayside always has belonged and still does to Congregation Shaare Tsedek. If anyone has any information they would like to share with me for my research project please contact me at My database of burials is being placed online at

Florence Marmor

Boris: 19th Aug 2009 - 16:38 GMT

It is not so simple to gain access to a mausoleum without proof that it is yours.We have no keys or deeds or paperwork to show we are the rightful proprietors or family members.Even still,it would cost thousands of dollars to repair and restore the old family mausoleum to its original glory.Today,most of the older ones have windows broken, crypts destroyed, vandalized and marked with graffiti.The cemeteru is broke and will not make any repairs or maintain what is there.

Sylvia Esther Glickberg: 20th Aug 2009 - 15:25 GMT

We had a family plot there (circa: 1908) for my great uncle and aunt. However, no one in the family can remember exactly where it is,as the last time I went was in the 1960's as a child with my parents.

average joe: 30th Aug 2009 - 01:02 GMT

I visited New York from a small town on the West coast
I have never seen anything as old and beautiful as this place
I hope that it is treated with the respect it deserves in the future
I hope that I come back someday and things are different
And I hope that you people are proud
Because if this place is taken care of
It will be because of the work done by those like you

Bayside Watcher: 15th Sep 2009 - 13:16 GMT

Over the past few months the world has learned about two similar horrendous examples of cemetery and grave desecration (Burr Oak in Illinois and Eden Memorial in California).

Both of these have very similar overtones to what has occurred at Bayside Cemetery and with Congregation Shaare Zedek in Manhattan.

In both of those instances in Illinois and California, law enforcement, the states’ attorney generals, the FBI, the media etc all leaped at the news and took immediate and proactive action.

So why hasn't the NY State Attorney General's office not done this at Bayside Cemetery? Why has the NY State AG been looking into the Bayside Cemetery mess for 6+ years? Surely the pictures in this photo series should be evidence enough that graves have been desecrated and not properly restored in a timely respectful fashion.

The NY AG has not ensured that Bayside Cemetery is properly restored. The NY AG has not ensured that the cemetery’s funds are properly restored after having been improperly taken by the congregation. The NY AG has not ensured that the many perpetual care contracts that the congregation entered into with deceased and living people are honored. The NY AG has not ensured that the cemetery has a viable long-term permanent management plan so that the cemetery is properly maintained forever.

Why is it that the NY Jewish Community hasn’t rallied around the horrible situation at Bayside Cemetery so that the right thing gets done?

How come the NY AG hasn’t taken fast and furious enforcement action?

How come the people who mismanaged and/or potentially committed criminal activities regarding Bayside Cemetery aren’t being investigated and punished?

Why hasn’t the NY media reported on this much more broadly and loudly?

Why is there the justifiable outrage at Burr Oak and Eden Memorial but not at Bayside Cemetery?

What’s really going on at Bayside Cemetery and with Congregation Shaare Zedek? So many questions. So few answers. Such deep contrast with similar incidents elsewhere in the country.

Sleepygirl: 24th Sep 2009 - 15:49 GMT

Wow, what beautiful photographs!!! They break my heart though. As a Cemetery Director this sort of thing disgusts me. It is mismanagement of funds. My cemetery runs off the INTEREST of the funds collected for perpetual care. We hold the principal in trust and it is never touched - HOWEVER, if some natural disaster did occur, we would have MORE than enough to fix the problem. We employ four full time grounds staff who run the Crematorium AS WELL AS dig all the graves, and take care of the lawns, shrubs and flowers. They also are responsible for snow removal in the winter. In the summer we hire summer students to help with the gardens, wippersnipping, pond maintenance and general upkeep of the grounds.

This cemetery was, at one time, a place of wealth - that can be seen in the style of monuments and the sheer volume of crypts on the property. If they do not have enough money now to make the necessary repairs, it is from misappropriation of the perpetual care funds. They claim to have one grounds keeper on staff, well, that grounds keeper needs to be fired. My grounds manager does a tour of the property EVERY SINGLE MORNING to determine what needs to be taken care of that day - if anything is amiss, it is taken care of IMMEDIATELY. One of our niche buildings was vandalized - broken into, niches smashed and property stolen - we had the entire situation resolved in two days. BUT, that means that the grounds manager is out there every day, LOOKING for what needs to be tended and then it is tended. He doesn't sit around for 6 months and THEN look around and say "Eeee, where do I even start?". By then it is too late and the task is too grand. This groundskeeper has been sitting on his hands far too long. If there was a bowlling ball on my property it would be there today, gone tomorrow!! It would not be left there to be moved around by thugs. Gosh this makes me mad.

I deal with people very single day who have lost someone they love and memorializing the grave, making it SPECIAL, marking their loved one's place, is SOOOOOO important. It is such a personal thing and it means so much - to see that destroyed makes me feel ill. Even if families don't visit the cemetery often, the fact that they know their loved one is lying peacefully, undisturbed, honoured with a marker, means SO much. This cemetery needs to understand that if they cleaned up their act, MORE normal people would come during daylight hours to enjoy the beauty - by leaving it in disrepair, you invite vandals and thrill-seekers, and scare away the rest of the public. We always say that our cemetery is a place for the living, and pride ourselves on the landscaping, the ponds, the beauty and inviting atmosphere. Many people who live in the area come to simply walk through for exercise or enjoyment. They come to feed the ducks on our ponds and simply soak up the sunshine. It is not a "scary" place at all - it is inviting because it looks like a park. Think of how much fun it would be to walk through that cemetery once it is restored - the beauty would be awe-inspiring. It is a shame they can't make a community project of it and do a massive garbage pickup and yard-work weekend. Once all the crap was cleaned away you could better determine the actual REPAIRS that need doing. I bet a lot of the repairs could be done simply and inexpensively, particularly if you could get the community interested. So sad.

Seeing that poor woman's crypt smashed and her bones exposed makes me FURIOUS as well. I need to go back and have another look at that pic though, because I thought I saw some gnawing marks on the wood of the casket - I'm undecided if they were gnaw or pry marks, so I'm going back for a second bo

Eric: 27th Sep 2009 - 16:15 GMT

As horrific as the conditions at Bayside are, the sad fact is that others in New York, particularly in Staten Island, teeter on the brink of a similar fate. To be sure the congregation's stewardship has been a disaster, but I feel compelled to add at least a word of chastisement to the families of these poor souls who never visited and let the ancestors without whom they would have nothing lie alone and forgotten like dogs in the woods. As long as I live I will not have "Perpetual Care" put on the graves of my family, not because I cannot afford it but because caring for these graves is a FAMILY duty, not to be shunted to strangers. It is a disgrace.

Renee: 6th Oct 2009 - 03:40 GMT

Check out this site. There's a cleanup scheduled for October 18th!!!

Bayside Watcher: 7th Oct 2009 - 03:06 GMT

Kind of like getting a haircut... snip snip... cut... cut... and weeks, months, years later all the hair grows back. Bayside Cemetery is no different. While one-time cleanups are a "feel good" effort for those involved, such activities don't solve the Bayside Cemetery problem long-term unless simultaneous to the one-time cleanup is funding and the process and structure for permanent management and maintenance of Bayaide Cemetery. Otherwise, everything will just grow back and the cemetery will return to looking like the pictures in this photo essay.

Congregation Shaare Zedek continues to neglect it's legal and financial obligations to fund and maintain the cemetery.

How they could have celebrated Yom Kippur last week while their cemetery, the cemetery they took all the money from (Bayside Cemetery), looks the way it does is beyond my comprehension.

23 years of bayside fascination: 17th Oct 2009 - 17:00 GMT

I've lived near the cemetery my entire life. I can remember being a child and being in completely fear that place was haunted because of the way it looked (I'm 23 now, so you can see how long this is going on). When I was a teenager my friends would tell me about the depraved and horrible things they would do in the cemetery, from knocking down headstones to actually having sex on people's graves. It's a disgrace.

I hope one day they do something about it and take care of the cemetery.

Jewboy: 22nd Oct 2009 - 21:56 GMT

If Cong.. Sharei Tzedek can't take care of it, why don't they relinquish it to those who could, like the American Jewsish Congresss. Here is today's news article

Does anyone know how old is the oldest grave there. I want to know if I have ancestors there. Thank you.

ntatap: 23rd Oct 2009 - 22:27 GMT

I have a question for the person who posted "23 years" since you have a different perspective than the rest of us. Do you think that the continued damage is because these kids see it as an easy target since it looks like no one cares or do you think its the result of true anti semitism? Do you have any ideas of what could be done as far as convincing kids in the area that this is not right?
I think that most of this damage is being done not by some organized group of devil worshipers or theives, its kids in the area who get this great idea to go get drunk and or high in a cemetery. I am sure alot of these kids who did damage to this place in the past probably felt remorse about it as adults. Maybe there is some way of getting thru to these kids that its not right to mess with someones grave.

j.l. powell: 26th Oct 2009 - 06:05 GMT

i've never seen so much disrespect for a place that's supposed to be sacred.i accidently found this site.makes you want to weep......JLPTN LARRY

CartLegger: 26th Oct 2009 - 22:29 GMT

Sad that Justice seems to be on the side of this injustice:

Bayside Watcher: 31st Oct 2009 - 14:13 GMT

The good news is that the lawsuit against Congregation Shaare Zedek and Bayside Cemetery has been moved to NY State Supreme Court. I read through the lawsuit and it's even tougher than the last one that was in federal court. I hope justice prevails! The congregation needs to be punished for their misdeeds.

Evergray: 5th Nov 2009 - 21:14 GMT

After reading this entire post and thread of comments, all I can say is that I am speechless. Completely and utterly speechless.

Bayside Watcher: 6th Nov 2009 - 03:00 GMT

Check out this new article:

How about the quote where the cemetery guy says that the cemetery is "like a Ponzi scheme"? Is that what Bayside Cemetery is?

Congregation Shaare Zedek, Bayside Cemetery and CAJAC are a disgrace.

Eric: 22nd Nov 2009 - 17:18 GMT

Does anyone really believe that ANY synagogue has the financial resources to put this right? Even if the litigation succeeds what will be the result? Will the congregation have to sell its building to fund the repair and upkeep? Is that the goal ... to impoverish a living breathing congregation? The litigants should take a deep breath, roll up their shirtsleeves and start clearing around and weeding the graves of their grandparents. I did it with mine and the surrounding graves and will continue to keep them up. This neglect didn't happen overnight. If they had been visiting all these years they could have kept the problem from reaching the stage it has.

Eric: 25th Nov 2009 - 13:14 GMT

I would like to amend my previous post and say that my reference to "the co-litigants" was ill-chosen as they clearly care deeply about the situation. It was written in pique and would have been more properly directed to those who idly stand by (including the synagogue) and do nothing, as well as those who have finally visited and are freshly outraged. My apologies.

Betty: 4th Dec 2009 - 19:19 GMT

I lived across the street from this cemetery from 1954-1962 and it looked almost this bad then. It was overgrown as it is now. I don't remember the graffiti or the opened crypts then but it was terrible 50 years ago. This is not something new.

Joseph: 9th Dec 2009 - 22:59 GMT

I live near this cemetery and when you pass it on the A train you can see opened graves from above. I feel like something should be done to keep people from going inside and ruining it more than it already is. Its disgusting that people can do such a thing on hallowed ground and someone should take care of it.

larry: 15th Dec 2009 - 21:37 GMT

As a funeral director who grew up in Ozone Park the condition of the Cemetery has only worsened.It's a shame, but the neighborhood has also changed.I'd be happy to help clean it up. Those that can't let the dead rest are horrible people, God have mercy on their souls.

buddmar: 16th Dec 2009 - 00:52 GMT

What a tragic and heartbreaking shame! I hope there is some kind of attempt to clean up and restore this beautiful cemetery. The photos are so sad and yet strangely beautiful in a romantic sort of way ... We have the same problem here in Philadelphia - a large historic cemetery in West Philly, "Mount Moriah Cemetery" (a Christian Cemetery) is in even worse shape, and a very dangerous place to wander into: sepulchers turned into crack houses, drug dealing and prostitution going on, etc ... and this is a place where famous Civil War generals are buried! Interestingly, in one tiny corner of Mount Moriah is a Jewish Cemetery created by a tiny Dutch Jewish community in the early and mid 19th Century - perhaps half an acre - that is so overgrown that it is a small forest of trees with gravestones at the base. Fortunately I understand the Jewish Federation of Greater Philadelphia has recruited volunteers to restore this small forgotten place.

BryceNine: 22nd Dec 2009 - 07:22 GMT

Hmmm... the Earth reclaims us all... at least the ones the vandals don't get to first. Bastards.

Irrelevent: 26th Dec 2009 - 15:28 GMT

I want to buy this cemetery. I will get some people togther and do it.

Tamara: 1st Jan 2010 - 23:05 GMT

I was wondering about the state/status of the Acacia Cemetery. I know that it is next to the Bayside. I recently found out that my great-great grandfather was buried in Acacia. I live in Texas but plan to visit in October 2010.

Abby: 3rd Jan 2010 - 22:12 GMT

That was kinda creepy that the coffin was ruined and you could see bones! I emailed those pics. to my friends!
The bowling ball and cocoanut were funny though!

Bayside Watcher: 4th Jan 2010 - 01:53 GMT

Abby... "kinda creepy"? "funny"? It's not creepy or funny if that was your relative's bones that were exposed by vandals or if the bowling ball or coconut were sitting on top of your relative's grave! Vandalism in a cemetery is disgraceful, offensive and against all moral and ethical rules and boundaries of all religions and societal norms. It's never funny! What is strange though is how Congregation Shaare Zedek, the owner of Bayside Cemetery, allows these horrendous conditions at the cemetery to persist and that those bones were exposed for so long that photographers were able to take pictures of them. And that the garbage at the cemetery sits there so long without being cleaned up. To me, that is beyond imagination or explanation.

resident on 84th street: 14th Jan 2010 - 16:48 GMT

I lived right across the street from this cemetary for more than 10 years and ever since i could remember they have always had break ins around halloween and vandalizism, and nothing was ever done. side on 84th street was basically the only neat side and yet all it had was a car gate entrance with a chain and padlock that anyone could enter, and it was always open during the day so anyone could just walk in...if you dared!

Renee: Hey Bayside Watcher. Any update on litigations?

ole sachem: 6th Feb 2010 - 14:16 GMT

Why are there so many emotionally-seething and cut-throat-seeming know-it-all chieftains and way-too-few 'hands on' Indians? Good bad or otherwise, all talk of death is basically always about the living, their individual fears and worries connected to the complex topic in general, vast cultural and religious-spiritual beliefs-superstitions, etc.

The deceased have already 'passed over', whatever that may be (???). Regardless what faith (or faiths or lack thereof) one was associated with when alive, whether or not they believed in an afterlife of any kind at all, or if they seriously considered the possibility of a human or other type of reincarnation sometime in the near future, etc., chances are they are probably not actually residing in the cemeteries where their loved ones chose to place their remains long ago (or not so long ago); perhaps remembering them at the places where it makes more sense would lead to more positive reactions to the oft confusing and verboten topic of death in general.

IMHO, resources, time and energy are quite often better spent on caring for the manifold needs of the living (take a look around you any day of the week, including looking inward more often), in the process creating useful and applicable opportunities for advanced learning, for the human race as a whole, and productive and creative individual growth in general.

As long as possible I will likely continue visiting the Bayside Cemetery in its present state and derive whatever I can from the subtler messages it has to offer anyone who can sit quietly (and long enough) to recognize the entire universe existing within its forlorn, and in places not so forlorn, confines; I am also open to assisting with some of the grounds work and have a long history with that type of labor.

*I realize this type of thinking does very little to repair the material aspects of the present rundown condition of the place, but chances are I would not be visiting the graves there much if it were a spotless environment, and too well manicured as so many others can be. PEACE

pegusix: 7th Feb 2010 - 20:06 GMT

I have recently discovered that my Great Uncle Isadore Rushin is buried at Bayside.While I agree that to a certain extent the families bear some responsibility for letting things get so out of hand, many of us did not know we have loved ones there.I think it is dispicable that these holy/righteous people are dragging their feet to make things right.They should go there and walk among the dead and do the right thing.Since it is an election year, I think people like Cuomo should be made aware of this situation. I'll let you know if I get a response. Be well.

Bayside Watcher: 9th Feb 2010 - 02:25 GMT

Ole Sachem: I imagine you might be a bit more sympathetic if you had family buried at Bayside Cemetery like I do. And couple that with having paid thousands of dollars for perpetual care of the graves, you might feel doubly indignant like I do. So as you sit among the weeds contemplating whatever youn choose, think about how you would feel if you were sitting in a bed of poison ivy paying your respects to your mother/father/grandmother/grandfather/aunt/uncle/cousin after having spent thousands of dollars of your hard earned money to ensure that you or your descendents do not visit the grave sitting in poison ivy. Also, please be aware to the fact that Jewish tradition and religious law absolutely prohibits cemeteries from looking like Bayside does. Bayside is, as you know, a Jewish cemetery.

Pegusix: thanks for contacting Cuomo. Perhaps you can ask him why it has taken his office nearly 7 years to investigate what is going on at Bayside Cemetery with Congregation Shaare Zedek while his office routinely investigates and prosecutes people for trivial cases in months not years? And while the case at Bayside Cemetery involves the misapropriation and/or theft of millions of dollars. 7 years and no resolution. Mr. Cuomo, Why?

David from Jamaica: 11th Feb 2010 - 00:42 GMT

Hello All! I have not posted since January 25, 2009. I read through many of the commments and it is obvious we all care about Bayside (and cemeteries in general). I expressed my interest long ago in being involved in a clean-up and helping to do some of the organization. I am still interested. Many months ago, I did have someone contact me about a clean-up on a Saturday. Although I am not Shomer Shabbos (observant of the Sabbath from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown), out of respect of this and all Jewish cemeteries, I would not step into a cemetery on a Saturday. Somewhere along the line something positive will happen to Bayside Cemetery and its condition will improve. We need to continue caring. I was one of a small group of people involved with Ms. Marmor (see posting August 2009) in researching these cemeteries, which resulted in many interesting findings. Please try to help in the accumulation of more information. Thank you all.

Bayside Watcher: 11th Feb 2010 - 03:15 GMT

David... I wonder if you were scammed by the caller? Bayside Cemetery is closed on Saturdays for sabath observance. The gates are locked, the sexton is not there, and anyone in the cemetery on a Saturday when it's closed is probably technically trespassing. An organized cleanup on a Saturday at Bayside Cemetery is strange indeed.

Glen: Great article !

daniel lee: 14th Feb 2010 - 18:50 GMT

i just viewed the pictures of decay and vandalism portrayed in the pictures of the cemetery.i find this to both shocking and appalling that this is left in this not jewish but i grew up near this place and wound be glad to take part in any cleanup effort

ROBERT A BILLINGS: 29th Mar 2010 - 15:54 GMT

The Jewish people are GODS people So they are my people too,They need our help on Bayside and Acacia Cemeterys .Lets help them. Five Dollars a Year One million People ,Five Million Dollars.Adds Up no matter how many People. We could let a BANK control the money in and out. I am going to follow this through so dont ignor it. BOB

Larry K: 14th Apr 2010 - 14:09 GMT

How about contacting relatives of those interred at the cemetery to
assist in clearing their individual grave sites. There seems to be a lot
of complaining and finger pointing going on here. What is needed is ACTION.

David from Jamaica: 19th Apr 2010 - 00:32 GMT

To Bayside Watcher re:Feb. 11, 2010 posting reply:
I agree, being Jewish it was not normal to be told of a Saturday clean-up. Unless I misunderstood the person. Anyway, I will need to visit the cemetery to locate a grave for a fellow genealogist who now lives in Nevada and whose grandmother is interred in Bayside. I have the exact location. I recall searching for this monument long ago and the section was overgrown, so I will go this time with the appropriate tools, unless the groundskeeper(s) will take a moment to help me. I had promised to complete this mitzvah for this friend a very long time ago. Isn't it long overdue that a clean-up is organized. Any readers out there want to join-in??????

David from Jamaica: 19th Apr 2010 - 01:09 GMT

Hi All, I am going through pretty much every single posting in here and find them all to be of great value in that we have pretty much something in common-----we care. If not about Bayside Cemetery, then cemeteries in general. I am on John Lucker's mailing list regarding the Bayside litigation. I have even been to the Eastern District (Federal) Court in Kings County (Brooklyn) to one of the hearings. I would really like to see something extremely positive happen---either of a permanent or temporary (an upcoming cleanup???) nature. I am just one person. I can express my interest and will absolutely volunteer, but would like to know if there are others. In an email from about a year ago, citynoise contributor NTATAP responded to my suggestion for a clean-up offering to count him in. I would be very happy to gather names and start to organize. At this point in time a Fall clean-up will probably be realistic, unless we can get one together earlier. A summer clean-up may be out of the question for various reasons (vacations, heat and other weather related concerns, allergy sufferers (as I am). One visit will not make a difference, but one is better than ........(?). If anyone else would like to help plan or just volunteer with an actual clean-up, please contact me at my email address:

Amriel Kissner: 19th Apr 2010 - 18:17 GMT

I just found out that some of my relatives are interred at Bayside. I would gladly join in with any cleanup efforts.

Amriel Kissner

Diane Bauland: 12th May 2010 - 00:50 GMT

I have found out that my Great Great Grandparents, Louis and Regina Zadick have been interred at Bayside. I would join in any cleanup of the cemetery. I live 3 hours away and would need some kind of notice
Diane Bauland

Carol from Missouri: 16th May 2010 - 03:28 GMT

I'm doing genealogy work on the David Goldfarb family. Who has the records that show who is buried there? Could someone give me the address? I've checked a lot of listings for New York City and have an awful feeling that this family maybe buried at Bayside.

David: 26th May 2010 - 13:45 GMT

This is my first post here, but I have followed these cemeteries for several years and will post more in the next few weeks after I go out and verify my facts. I only post what I have personally verified. The Nextel tower (called a disguised tower designed to look like a flagpole) was built on the site of the old unused Mokom Sholom office building which was demolished for this purpose. The constrution was approved by the NYS cemetery commission. Nextel pays Mokom Sholom i.e., trustee David Jacobson, $1650/month rent for this purpose. One would hope that the money would be placed toward restoring or or at least mantaining Mokom Sholom but that does not seem to be the case. There is something more disturburbing occurring in Mokom Sholom that the desecration going on in Bayside. More will be posted shortly when I have documentaion in hand.

Kenny: 26th May 2010 - 23:01 GMT

I only live a block from this cemetery, which is located in a residential neighborhood call Tudor Village in Ozone Park, Queens. You can actually see the northern part of this cemetery if you take the elevated A train between 80th and 88th Street. The devastation of this cemetery is truly heartbreaking when you are looking down at it, as the train goes by.

David: 28th May 2010 - 23:17 GMT

I did better. I didn't take the train, I walked out on the elevated trackway and took pictures over looking Mokom Sholom cemetery. The gate in the first picture used to look loke the second picture. Third picture is the view from the inside. Fourth and fifth picture are looking over the arch from Liberty Ave. Sixth picture is an earlier historic picture. The next picture is the arch today. It didn't fall down by itself. It was taken down and moved to the NE corner of the cemetery along with several stones by a piece of heavy equipment. Thank you David Jacobson.
The last two pictures are the original Pitkin Avenue gate and the replacement gate put up by Nextel when they demolished the office and built the cellphone "flagpole" tower for which David Jacobson gets paid $1650 a month rent. It is obviously is not going back into Mokom Sholom's maintenance. More next week.

Bianca: 30th May 2010 - 16:08 GMT

hi there! my bf and i were in Acacia last night. I have a fascination with photodocumenting old cemeteries. The Bayside site was very heavily overgrown, we'd like to go back to photodocument there and I dont mind cleaning up a bit to do it. We must have spent a good hour clearing ivy off of graves in the maintained Acacia site! I'll post the pictures of our trip later today, but I wanted to know if anyone has contact numbers for who I need to get in touch with so I can go in and clean. Nighttime cleaning wouldnt be a problem either, my bf has all his old military flood lights that we can use. We were honestly more scared of vandals jumping us. So please let me know! I'd love to be able to explore in there undisturbed and also make a difference while there!

David: 30th May 2010 - 23:29 GMT

Here's the original Pitkin Ave gate to Mokom Sholom cemetery showing the office building:
image photo42737

The new gate next to the Nextel cellphone tower built on the site of the demolished office building.
image photo42738

David from Jamaica: 31st May 2010 - 00:10 GMT

Hello All!

Very tentatively plans are being made at the last minute to have a small clean-up of one society (gate 19) on either June 6 or June 13, otherwise it will be as it was planned in the late summer when it will be cooler. I will post here on Tuesday or Wednesday after I ascertain if those dates are feasible. Please email me at:
David (the photographer), please contact me privately.

Isaac from Brooklyn: 31st May 2010 - 17:20 GMT

I was there yesterday, I was shocked beyond believe how this place looks like, I started to cry, is there anyone out there trying to help, I know a good organization that takes care of old abandend cemeteries in Europe I want to contact them for a complete restoration.

Is there any help available in funds to help them? please leave comments

David: 31st May 2010 - 18:59 GMT

Here's the original Pitkin Ave gate to Mokom Sholom cemetery showing the office building:

The new gate next to the Nextel cellphone tower built on the site of the demolished office building.

I've been fighting with incorrect syntax here for a few days. I hope this posts correctly. Then I'll post more.

CartLegger: 31st May 2010 - 20:46 GMT

Yeah, its a pretty old system! Peter needs to update it, we all agree on that!

Here is a step-by-step tutorial (from "What is citynoise":

On the "post" page (see above), beside the space for the Author's name, click the link that says Upload photos.
A pop-up window should appear. Browse for your photo (sorry, jpg only!) and click Upload. It may take a few seconds, so be patient.
Once your photo is finished uploading the pop-up window will display a message like: Uploaded 'myphoto.jpg' into citynoise as photo xxxx. Make a note of the photo ID number represented by xxxx.
Below there is a large link that says, click here to insert this photo. Click the link, the upload window will disappear, and the appropriate code will be inserted into your post (in the main window).
If necessary, you can add the image code to your post manually. It works like this - image xxxx where xxxx is the ID number of your photo, provided above (for more info on citynoise codes, see here).

David: 31st May 2010 - 23:17 GMT

Here's the original Pitkin Ave gate to Mokom Sholom cemetery showing the office building:

Thanks Cartlegger. The popup window never fully opened so I only had the image number. I never saw the insert button.
Here's the original Pitkin Ave gate to Mokom Sholom cemetery showing the old office building:
image 42737

The new Mokom Sholom gate next to the Nextel cellphone tower built on the site of the demolished office building.
image 42738

David Gewirtzman: 31st May 2010 - 23:25 GMT

Wow! I'm so excited. The pictures thing worked.

Here is a crash course on Mokom Sholom, the third cemetery that abuts Bayside and Acacia to the West.
The Liberty Ave gate to Mokom Sholom currently looks like this:
image 42729
Not too long ago it looked like this:
image 42727
Before the signs were completely smashed the gate looked like this:
image 42730
The original intact left side plaque:
image 42731
The rightside plaque says the cemetery was established in 1865.
A historic picture from inside looking at the Liberty Ave gate:
image 42732
Another historic picture from outside Liberty Ave fence looking South:
image 42733
An older historic picture from the same angle inside the fence showing the arch and dozens of gravestones.
image 42734
This picture was taken May 26 from the elevated track looking down at the NW corner of Mokom Sholom:
image 42735
This picture is from the elevated track looking down at the NW corner of Mokom Sholom Cemetery: The pile of stones is the beautiful arch that was in the previous pictures. It did not fall down by and move itself to the NW corner of Mokom Sholom by itself. It was destroyed and moved with a piece of heavy machinery. Thank you David Jacobson.
image 42736

David from Jamaica: 3rd Jun 2010 - 14:09 GMT

Kudos to David Gewirtzman,

Wonderful photos!

If you are the same David I asked to contact me in a posting a few days ago, please contact me privately at:
I have a financial offer concerning your photos.

David from Jamaica: 3rd Jun 2010 - 14:17 GMT

To all who responded privately regarding a tentative clean-up,

I was able to make some phone calls and planning for this clean-up will need to be postponed until possibly September or October, mainly due to the present litigation invloving Bayside. Please do not lose your interest and care in this (and any other) cemeteries. Thank you all for caring!

Concerned from NJ: 6th Jun 2010 - 17:31 GMT

I've been following the issue about Bayside Cemetery for years - in the Jewish Week and various other publications. I also read about the litigation at What an appalling situation. After reading through this long blog, I must agree with a number of the comments. That is that while a one time cleanup looks nice and feels good to the volunteers, it doesn't seem like the effort will solve the problem at the cemetery until Congregation Shaare Zedek returns the money they took from the cemetery and a proper financial foundation for the cemetery is restored and established. One of the comments above made lots of sense. That is how the cemetery needs to be maintained forever so whatever we do temporarily to cut weeds and trees will be nice but won't help long term unless there is a forever management plan in place. Obviously this isn't that hard to do since there are cemeteries all around where we live that are well maintained and have been for hundreds of years. Poor Bayside. And shame on those who took its money and are treating the cemetery and the departed buried within it so disrespectfully.

Isaac: 9th Jun 2010 - 15:50 GMT

Hello all

I was there this morning for 2 hours in Bayside, I saw alot of cleanup work has been done, as well I saw a 2 crews working on cleanup, I dont know whos work it is, but Kol Hakavod. lets just hope it will be all done

Ly: 29th Jun 2010 - 14:19 GMT

Hi, my name's Ly. I used to hang out in Acacia Cemetery as a teen. It actually used to have bodies hanging out too, and its so dirupted due to a few factors: gangs, homeless people and Black Magic. I have found much evidence of people using black magic in that cemetery, and why not? Easy access to body parts. Beautiful place, it really is. I still dream about it. Great pics.

Ly: 29th Jun 2010 - 14:21 GMT

p.s. The Cohn crypt photo was particularly moving for me, as it was that crypt I spent most of my time in. I never vandalized anything there. I was just a lonely goth kid trying to get some peace. And its so quiet and peaceful there, dispite the state its in.

d moss: 12th Aug 2010 - 22:12 GMT

I would like to visit my family plot in late September. Am I likely going to be able to enter and walk the pathways to find the plot? How overgrown will it be?
Is there an issue of personal safety to both a parked car and my person if I go there alone?

Eric: 12th Sep 2010 - 15:46 GMT

d moss -
I have been to Bayside many times and never felt at risk to myself or to my vehicle ... I park right by the front gate usually and have never had a problem. How overgrown it will be depends on where the plot is. After 3 or 4 visits I managed to clean the section where my great-grandfather is buried so access is easy but I can tell you the weeds grow back rapidly. Some areas can be impenetrable.

Arthur H. Oct 27- 1:00 AM: 28th Nov 2010 - 06:04 GMT

When I was in my late 20's I used to take Far Rockaway train;passed this cemetery for several years. That was until 1969,or so. I remember how many stones were in neat fashion,but one on top of each. From photo's I can not believe how bad it has become, makes me very sad, in my early 30's now.

Arthur H. Oct 27- 1:00 AM: Should be early 70's now.

Barbara W: 14th Dec 2010 - 17:53 GMT

My grandparents are buried in this cemetary.
We used to be able to call thw office to make the graves accessible before we visited, now we can't reach anyone.
Does anyone know what's going on there??

Steve G: 17th Dec 2010 - 15:40 GMT

I believe my great-grandfather's brother was burried here in 1919. I would also like to know how to find his plot and to see if other family members are buried there. It's ashame this could happen right here in NY. Hopefully, it doesn't happen to others!

Sarah: 21st Jan 2011 - 23:03 GMT

I want to say, I am not the Sarah Beck in earlier comments, I just came across this today, and I am saddened that any cemetery has fallen apart like this, and especially over financial greed. I have a lot of graves I visit, aunts and uncles, grandparents, a husbands, and even a child of mine. I could not imagine the horror, despair and many other feelings that everyone has at this, going to visit my own, especially my child's. If I lived anywhere near the New York area I would definitely go there and help with any clean up, but alas, I do not. I have also went to the facebook page that was mentioned above, and they have done a lot of work. I applaud the group that has taken that initiative, however it should have never got to the point that it has, and they should have never had to take the initiative to intervene, it should have been taken care of.
It makes me want to go get my child removed from where he is and get him cremated, so I can be sure he is taken care of. I am almost thankful he is in a public cemetery, right between my grandmother and my uncle. I make sure my children know exactly where the graves are and we are within walking distance, we go and have picnics with our loved ones, when weather permits. I hope the kids keep an eye on things for years to come.
My heart goes out to family, friends and even the community at large that is dealing with this cemetery and the disrespect and so may other things that are going on there. I don't even know how to start with how I feel about this, and even if I did know how to start, I doubt I could find a place to finish. I just hope this is resolved and doesn't ever happen again to the people involved, and they get the long term care that they paid for.

CenJerSwigree: 27th Jan 2011 - 20:28 GMT

Wow! Thank you! I continuously wanted to write on my site something like that. Can I implement a part of your post to my site?

David from Jamaica: 13th Feb 2011 - 18:15 GMT

It's been very quiet here. Any plans for a clean-up or anything to help Bayside cemetery when the weather warms up? I pass by quite frequently when I am on the A train or walking in the neighborhood to friends. No comment regarding the condition at the cemetery! Contact me at:

Frank C.: 7th Mar 2011 - 00:55 GMT

Why can't there be a way for all descendant families to donate a monthly sum for upkeep? If this cemetery has any major historical significance maybe the city can be petitioned for a historical landmark status and use the larger buildings for community functions and history/cultural studies as well. This will facilitate funds to properly restore this sacred site.

GeorgeK: 23rd Mar 2011 - 23:47 GMT

Just stumbled on this site as I did some family tree related activities. My great-grand parents are buried there, although no idea where. Thanks for the photos... they give me some context...but infuriate me beyond words. The neglect, and has been said, the vandalism is evil. If you do visit, tread gently and say a good word for me.

Sean: 9th May 2011 - 22:10 GMT

I don't have any family buried there, but I've wanted to visit and explore ever since I came to NYC for college last year...does anyone know if/when it is open to the public?

anon ( 15th May 2011 - 14:21 GMT

I want to a kid long ago, I saw many bodies exposed before they bothered to semi-preserve their dignity, back when it was being raided by witches. I also just saw the box in which they sealed up "Celia's" remains. Back when I used to hang there, I found her pile of bones. And I took home her jaw for two weeks. I even bleached it. But, I brought it back. And that's why its a different color from her skeleton. I didn't do it to be mean or cruel. I was just a confused teen and I'm sorry for disturbing her rest.

Jennifer: 7th Jun 2011 - 16:09 GMT

Sean - cemetery is locked unfortunately. Was just there June 5th. You can still see the beauty from the outside though..

NOT LOCKED: 20th Jun 2011 - 16:09 GMT

The cemetery is not locked its open to public, they are doing a great job with cleanup, just keep it up

Gail Johnson: 1st Jul 2011 - 13:06 GMT

Good morning to all.
My name is Gail Johnson (Black/Cherokee Indian) and I live on St. Croix, United Stated Virgin Islands. Currently I am reading a book titled “Curtains – Adventures of an Undertaker-in-training” by Tom Jokinen. In his book he doesn’t mention the name of the “Jewish cemetery in Yonkers” (P. 245), but after some research on the internet I was able to learn that Tom was referring to was Ohel’s David Jacobson’s ACACIA Cemetery. With that said, I writing to say I am so sorry to see such a “richly cultured cemetery” in such a rundown condition. It’s to my understanding that a cemetery such as this one has many Jewish congregations that have buried their love ones. So may be the families could get together and clean up the place. It’s just an ideal.
Every year when I go home to Cleveland Ohio, I go and visit as many of my decease relatives as possible. I check to make sure their grave sites are clean and presentable.
Next time I’m in New York, NY I will try to stop by David Jacobson’s Cemetery and see if I can help. I can be reached at 340-277-2294.
Take care.

ntatap: 2nd Jul 2011 - 03:29 GMT

From what I was able to find. Celia Schnaier was born in New York in 1847. Her husband Gustav was born in Bavaria in 1840 and came to the US in 1854. He served in the civil war and after the war he had a company that made artifical flowers at Prince St and Broadway NYC. he died on June 10, 1914. They had 4 sons Robert, Louis, Jacob and Milton. Milton and Louis were involved in plumbing and owned a company Milton Schnaier and Company who appear to have done some large scale plumbing jobs into at least the 1920s. The reason I posted this is that it shows that these people were just that, people, just like us, our families and friends. Would you want them treated this way?

ntatap: 4th Jul 2011 - 14:52 GMT

Although Bayside has improved somewhat (mostly what can be seen from the streets around it) the place is still a wreck in areas that most people dont go. These photos were taken 3 July 2011 and you can see that bodies are still exposed. These crypts had been closed up only to be reopened. The pepsi can found on a back path was the type that has a pull tab and has not been in use since the early 1980s, this gives you an idea of how long it has been since some of these areas have been really cleaned.

image 47850

image 47851

image 47852

Marge: 16th Jul 2011 - 03:05 GMT

I was watching the news today, July 15, channel 11 and for the first time realized what's happening in this cemetery. I live up the block!!! I can't believe it! It's a shame. We need a politician to get involved! How about the local guys like Joe addabo or Eric urlich??

anon ( 16th Jul 2011 - 05:27 GMT channel 7 story link

anon ( 16th Jul 2011 - 05:30 GMT,0,1777580.story this is the channel 11 link

ntatap: 16th Jul 2011 - 05:37 GMT

You need to contact these people and put the screws to them. They have known about the problems for years and its no secret.If you go online to the NY Times website and search Bayside Cemetery you will find coverage going back to the 1990s. Tell your neighbors about it, They probably dont know either.

anon ( 23rd Jul 2011 - 17:16 GMT

This is the correct story link

Ginny: 28th Jul 2011 - 22:12 GMT

This is in human & whoever did this will have to answer to God!

Joe Kennedy Sr.: 2nd Sep 2011 - 20:12 GMT

The Jews are a poor race. They mess up everything. Here is a perfect example. Financial parasites as well.

Franny Wentzel: 2nd Sep 2011 - 20:37 GMT

To Joe Kennedy Sr... at least Jews don't leave their lady friends to drown should they happen to carelessly drive into a body of water.

ntatap: 21st Sep 2011 - 01:11 GMT

Here is a link to the follow-up story that aired on WABC-TV on Sept 19,2011 about Bayside.§ion

Buried in Bayside: 8th Nov 2011 - 08:18 GMT

I just found out today that my Great Grandparents are buried here. What a horrible revelation to see what has happened to this cemetery. I only wish that I lived on the East Coast so I could try and find their final resting place and try and help get it restored to order. I hope those that are suing Shaare Zedek are able to get Justice.

anon ( 13th Nov 2011 - 02:14 GMT

The Queens Forum did an article on Bayside

F. C.: 16th Nov 2011 - 20:14 GMT

Just chanced upon this site; my ggm is buried here and now I see why I could not get a volunteer to take photos of her headstone. Perhaps it was already mentioned on this thread of messages but as I scanned it, I didn't see such an idea: there is a Jewish Genealogy convention that takes place yearly and if I may suggest that someone who is interested attend that convention and take it upon themselves to try to get commitments to raise funds to help clean up the cemetery and then document those graves that are there for their website.

kristin gaffney-roca: 17th Nov 2011 - 23:37 GMT

It truly is so sad. I have so much respect for the dead. You can EASILY track down family members of these people by using ANCESTRY.COM !!!! Maybe then, you can get members of their families to help start a foundation to help maintain this place.

kristin gaffney-roca: 17th Nov 2011 - 23:59 GMT

There is a photo of a stone that says Rachel Gelman d 3-16-1921 by using I found she was from Russia,spoke only Yiddish lived at 220 South 3rd st in Brooklyn NY. She did not work and was married to Barnett Gelman, a peddler. She had 2 children living with her in her home names Harry-25 and Gertie-23 This was info obtained by using the 1910 census. It was very easy to find. Just 1 year before her death she and her husband lived with her daughter Gussie Carr and her family:husband Phillip, daughters Thelma and Helen and son Alfred. It is all paper trail is all. Maybe someone can find Albert Carr b.1915-1916 ????????? Here is the info on Phillip Carr that I found(Rachel's son in law that she lived with) Pincus Krechevsky changed his name to Philip Carr after immigrating to America from Romni, Russia (now the Ukraine) in 1901. Philip married Gussie Gellman Carr and was patriarch of a large extended family of new Americans. He was sales manager of the Aetna Varnish Co., a New York firm founded by his chemist brother-in-law, Charles Lipschutz.

Haunt of Mount Moriah: 7th Dec 2011 - 16:34 GMT

So many of the above photographs mirrored my beloved cemetery, Mount Moriah in Philadelphia, a year ago. My heart aches to see what today's generations in the majority, do NOT do for our dead. I can tell you this, it only takes one or two people to get the ball rolling and to stop the destruction, but it will take many to revitalize it. They key is to stop the destruction upon the grounds first.
There are so many postings I could never find the time to read them all, for I am busy with my own cemetery ventures but if the destruction has not ended, please feel free to contact me at and I can tell you how I got it to stop here on the 150 acre grounds. Good luck to who ever cares enough to take on this venture. God will bless you for these services as he has I. :)

anon ( 17th Dec 2011 - 23:05 GMT

how could anyone say that this place is beautiful? at one time it was but not now. the sad part is that the place got this way cause the people in charge didnt care.maybe when these supposed care takers of this cemetary die we should just throw them in a dumpster !

Marchie: 30th Dec 2011 - 21:05 GMT

You need to have the historical society archive the cemetery before it is cleared and restored. Valuable information may get destroyed or what's left of it

Some guy: How can this be? For shame on us all...

Geordie: 23rd Mar 2012 - 11:56 GMT


Hi, first off good oh on all the groups that want to help fix up this. However please heed above warning, particularly some of the really early graves and exposed crypts etc. At some point early on morticians were using arsynic (? arsenic)to preserve bodys. Problem is it is highly toxic, which meant with decomposition the arsenic would have leeched into the bones and also into the coffin wood - implications if you get cut or scrapped by a jagged bone or the splinters from a broken coffin, depending on how sharp these are, they can give you a nice gash and even puncture or break the skin, if this even residual arsenic gets into your blood stream it can be poisonous, also microbes from decomposed biomatter could have a serious effect on your immune system. NO I AM NOT SAYING YOU WILL BECOME A ZOMBIE (BALLACKS TO THAT)but do excercise caution.

Hazmat disposible coveralls and disposable masks, please think about wearing these if you are going to be working in restoring damage in crypts, these are confined spaces, and there will still be fine particulate dusk, moulds etc again from the coffin fragments, exposed human remains etc, also wear good heavy duty construction gloves reinforced with rubber grips, these will also protect hands against getting puncture by sharp funerary furnishings like coffin handles etc

Safety in numbers, since it is evident that human vermin like robbers and black ritualists may think thIS cemetery is now their "playground" go in groups - NEVER ALONE! You can never be too careful when you are dealing with gangs, drug dealers or drug addicts.

Please do not even entertain the idea of taking souvenirs like photos, old Hebrew bibles or funerary coins which may have fallen from the caskets. Not only is this dishonourable - I know from person experience having researched paranormal things that you could be inviting "problems" spirits have an intrinsic "attachment" to things that they may have been buried with, by taking things from a vault, crypt etc this "spirit energy" might follow you home and remain in your residence causing a lot of annoying and potentially dangers problems (Just ask my cat - and an old German uniform I purchased some years ago - I ended up giving it back to a friend as the cat would literally hiss and spit at it every time I'd leave it out - low growling too identifying the "presence" of someone or thing it did not like!)

PLEASE TAKE ALL THESE WARNINGS SERIOUSLY - NO I AM NOT A CRACKPOT I have had friends who've worked on moving cememteries, working at archival digs etc. The issues with arsenic ARE REAL the same with getting a cut or infection if you get skin broken by funerary wood and furnishings, flesh eating viruses can lay dormant, but if reintroduced into the blood stream can cause VERY REAL AND POTENTIALLY DEADLY PROBLEMS.

It is also a very good thing that each time you go to this cemetery to do good, maybe bring an off duty cop friend with you but also a Rabbi, to bless this work and also to put the spirits at ease that you guys are not there to do MALFESANCE or to desecrate - seriously

See if any of these Jewish endowment funds or local mortuaries would be willing to lend a hand with re-entombing, and blessing the re-burials of the remains - oh and post pictures for me, I want to see the progress made - SLANGHAVA (Gaelic for to your health)

Geordie: 23rd Mar 2012 - 21:19 GMT

Referencing sleepygirl`s comments,I too am furious, instead of a cheap particle board box, that womans remains need to be put in a new casket, and that wall, where the marble marker was - needs to be cemented in, so that no more creepy crypt desecrators can get their hands on her. Another excellent point FIRE THAT SOS AND SO OF A GROUNDS KEEPER. I`m sorry but you would see any of that nonsence happening at Beechwood Cemetery in Ottawa, many of the parts of this site are just as old if not older than Bayside, we have the same problems with gangs, junkies drugs as you guys do, but noboth goes in their after sunset. Like sleepygirl their grounds people do regular tours, they keep their perptual care funds managed properly and their is NO NONSENSICAL passing the buck of responsibilities of whatever burial society is now supposed to be looking after it. If you have to get the funding to have a very high rot iron fence system put around the perimeter do it - if you have to get off duty cops to make one long effective patrol every day, staggering the patrol visits thereby surprising human gouls intent on malfeasance - then restrict visitation.

Another issue - in ottawa open crypts like this would be a biohealth hazard and a safety hazard which would mean that the city would immediately start work re-entombing; re-enforcing crypts and then cleaning up the DAMNED IVY WHICH IS A SODDING CANCER! Don`t forget that that little eco Creep forest you have in their could be a very serious fire hazard if some meth freak threw his or her match into the wrong place. Hell I'm surpised the New York Fire Marshall hasn't climbed down your throatts and given you all a good throttling for the very real fire hazard danger you have brewing in this cemetery!!

Again I'm shoving Beechwood cemetery in your faces as an example - but i'M SORRY, YOU WON'T SEE ANY OF THIS DISRESPECT OF THE DEAD CRAP in our Cemetery "park". Yes as an outide observer, may be I have no business making comments - but our dead are our responsibility - ALL OF OUR RESPONSIBILITIES.

For the Rabbis "viewing" this board please do us all a big favour, stop making excuses about what can and cannot be done, stop passing the buck, stop IN-FIGHTING among yourselves and get your collective arses together as a group, march the congregation done to the site with wood hammers, cutting shears gardening implements and TAKE BACK YOUR DAMNED CEMETERY AND YOUR DAMNED HERITAGE!!!!!!! COME ON PEOPLE, SHIT I'M NOT EVEN JEWISH and I pissed off that somebody's mom (or gm, or gggggggm) is lying exposed in a "quickie casket" with her name marked on the side using a Sharpie pen to identify who the hell the poor little dear is.

What the hell does it take clean up your apathy toward this matter and make a stand. Yes I know BIG LOUD TAKE FOR SOME WANK WHO LIVES WAY UP IN OTTAWA RIGHT!!?? Well trust me ladies and gents if i was living near this place I would be mustering a number of my military re-enactment buddies off their arses too and we would at the very least be trying to make some kind of 'DENT', in that apathetic mess of a cemetery which all of you have now inherited. There is a famous regimental Motto for the SAS (SPECIAL AIR SERVICE) "WHO DARES WINS"

Think about people, the first step has to be taken soon before your cemetery will have to be condemned by the state as a health safety and a major fire hazard waiting to happen.

In closing NONE of my comments are there to offend, they are there to make you angry enough (and if you want to dump on me do so)to do something, because you'll be so sick of wankers like me making comments that you will make the decision - you will clean this burial world up, and you'll then be amazed at what you can do when you stop waiting for things to come together. CHEERS AND SHALOM!

Arlene Lehman Baldwin: 22nd May 2012 - 07:15 GMT

I have been reading about this cemetery for years trying to obtain information on who to contact for me to try to locate my relatives graves. Conditions continue to worsen and nothing new has been posted by either the Rabbi or the families that sued over the conditions at the cemetery. What is the current status of the litigation? My suggestion to Congregation Shaare Zedek is to hire 2 professionals: 1. a professional organizer to coordinate the many volunteers, other area congregations, genealogical societies and local historical groups and 2. a grant writer. If Shaare Zedek has any lists of who is buried in the cemetery, they need to ask for volunteers, especially within their congregation, to post on the Bayside Cemetery website for searching. Genealogists pay fees for pictures of their family members gravestones. As the various sections are cleared and gravestones reset/cleaned, a digital picture should be taken and made available for a $15-$20 fee. These fees could be used for future indexing of the burial sites, etc. There is no reason Congregation Shaare Zedek should not be able to begin planning and implementation as well as maintenance of the cemetery. Had they begun the process years ago, the effort would be that much closer to completion.

Anna Coriouski: 7th Jun 2012 - 17:03 GMT

I have lived next to this cemetery for 12 years and I always wanted to know more about it. And through those 12 years, the cemetery was left alone and was ruined. It has always been a beautiful and haunting place. It is sorrowful that people vandalized the cemetery and ruined it.

Anna Sussman: 28th Jun 2012 - 02:44 GMT

I found out by research that my great-great grandfather and grandmother Moses Zussman and Fannie Golberg are buried in the Acacia cemetery. when I found out the state of the place. I am speechless.I do not know what to do. I was thinking to go and visit their grave. but I do not If I will be able to found them. or maybe found there bones scattered around the place. I am horrified, I do not know who to contact or what to do.

anon ( 30th Jun 2012 - 02:00 GMT

Acacia not part of Bayside. They are connected because there is not a fence between them.People think they are one but they are not. Acacia is not owned by the same group, in fact, Acacia is run by a trustee for NYS since its congregation went defunct (Pike Street Synog I think). It does have some older damage but its limited. Its fairly well taken care of.
Bayside is in better condition than it had been, all the areas within it can now be seen but much still needs to be done. Stones need to be uprighted and mausoleums need to be repaired.

Lulu: 3rd Jul 2012 - 14:44 GMT

I have a friend who would like to clean up FREE of charge. She feels it is so unfair that it has not been kept up and would like to give back somehow. She has no idea who to contact. If you know of someone we can contact. Please let me know at Thank you!

anon ( 11th Jul 2012 - 03:03 GMT

Bayside news story 16th Aug 2012 - 01:32 GMT


Carol S.: 21st Aug 2012 - 07:04 GMT

Thank you to the person who took these photos and set up this website. I grew up in NYC and am only now visiting graves of great and great-great grandparents. Don't know yet if any are in Bayside, but I had no idea what was going on there until I stumbled upon the litigation website. I will spread the word among the Jewish and non-Jewish community here in Philadelphia. The more people know of the issue, the better.

Militscher64: 25th Aug 2012 - 23:47 GMT

These pictures are heart breaking.I have several family members interred here. My great,great,great grandparents to my grandfather are buried here. I am planning a trip in September 2012 w/ a distant cousin to go visit. I would appreciate any info on who I should try to contact prior to our visit. Unfortunately I live in the Kansas City area and don't get back east very often so I would love to schedule a visit.Thanks for any help or info in advance, A

Merle Lundy: 1st Sep 2012 - 07:01 GMT

1. I'm doing genealogy research on my family and you would be amazed at the number of people who can't remember where their parents and siblings are buried, let alone grandparents or other relatives. If people don't visit cemeteries, they end up like these. 2. At one time, there was no perpetual care. Even after there was, cemeteries run out of money and are abandoned. 3. There is no money to clean these up, let alone do any repairs. My grandparents headstones were falling over and it cost nearly $2000 to pay the cemetery for perpetual repair and to repair the stones. 3. Finally, every Jewish Federation is hurting in these difficult economic times. Unfortunately, cemetery clean up is not on their lists of needs.

dianne kay: 28th Sep 2012 - 19:00 GMT

I am deeply distressed to see that over the years, little has been done to remedy this situation. My grandfather Emanuel M. Kay and his wife Sayde were buried at Bayside. The fact that I found this site and discovered the situation makes me believe that those buried are trying to speak from the grave to tell us to not become complacent. Throughout history complacency was the downfall of nations!

anon ( 29th Sep 2012 - 00:33 GMT

Have you ever seen the graves? I volunteer at Bayside often and will look for them. I found them listed in gate 31.

Katie: 15th Dec 2012 - 17:18 GMT

WOW!! I came across this randomly looking at local Canadian cemetery & I am shocked that this is NewYork this is truly a disgrace

Frankie G: 25th Dec 2012 - 04:58 GMT

What's happened to this cemetery is truly sad. Even sadder is the fact that this situation has existed for the better part of 20 years and still no solution has been found. My great-aunt lived on Old South Road right across the street from this cemetery for many years before she passed away in 1999.

A few years before she died, a group of thugs broke into the cemetery late one night & went absolutely hog wild. My great-aunt told me that she was awakened by the sound of screaming. When she looked out the window, there was a bare-chested man in dreadlocks running up & down the street holding a skull & shrieking like a madman while his friends looked on & laughed. The skull still had long strands of hair attached to it. She called the police but they were slow in coming. It took them 20 minutes to arrive, by which time, of course, the thugs were long gone.

If the sickening photos above are any indication, there have been countless other desecrations that have occurred since then. The people responsible for running this cemetery should be sued at the very least, brought up on criminal charges at the very most, and should have all stewardship over the cemetery stripped away. It's disgraceful.

AGAR: 28th Dec 2012 - 15:24 GMT

How can I volunteer with Bayside to help clean up? I dont live far from the cemetery. If you have a contact person or days that I can just show up, please let me know. My email address is Thank you!!

anon ( 26th Feb 2013 - 21:14 GMT

Is this cemetery locked to the public as of 2013?

Joshua Martinez : 3rd Apr 2013 - 20:40 GMT

I live about three houses next to the cementary and I think it is locked to the public. I also have to say that the bayside cementary is said to be haunted by ghost

History...: 10th May 2013 - 05:37 GMT

Neglect is Tradition:

"Messrs. Editors:
"Last Sunday I was invited by a resident of this city, a gentleman who takes a pride in showing strangers the various institutions maintained by Israelites, to inspect the Jewish cemeteries. I gladly availed myself of his kindness, as I had heard repeated praise of the excellent manner in which they were kept. Nor was I disappointed, except in one instance, and that was at the Bay Side Cemetery, owned by the Congregation 'Darech Amono.' In it I found that a portion of the ground devoted to Family Plots had some pretensions to order and neatness, but the part designated a General Ground was in a most deplorable condition. Rank weeks had grown to the height of two and three feet, entirely obliterating all traces of graves; tombstones are lying scattered in various parts, having I suppose been blown down; no observable pathways, and in most instances not a mark or number to designate the grave.
"But wretchedly neglected as this part of the ground may be, its condition is immeasurably better than that portion devoted to the 'Free Burial Society.' This is virtually a Jewish Potter's Field. I was assured by my friend that the remains of a large number of poor but worthy Israelites lie interred therein, but there is not even a semblance of a mound to indicate a grave. Surely such a state of things ought not to exist in a civilized community. I do not pretend to say that the congregation is bound to erect tombstones, but I do think that they are bound to see that their ground is kept in good order, that the graves should be clearly defined and numbered; that pathways should be laid out, so that relatives visiting the graves of the departed should be able to reach them in a decorous manner, and not be necessitated to thread their way over unmarked graves. A STRANGER.
"NEW YORK, September 21st, 1879."
"Cemetery Desecration." Jewish Messenger 46(13). September 26, 1879: 4 col 5.

"Messrs Editors:
"I visited last week the cemetery at Bay Side to which a correspondent in your columns referred two weeks ago, but I can not entirely agree with his statements. He forgets that the Free Burial Society has but a limited income. To supply the large number of graves with even plain wooden headstones, would cost, at fifty cents each, too much; and if 'stakes' at ten cents each are erected, it would necessitate too large an outlay. Let your correspondent go to the Oliver Street cemetery, or any of the old cemeteries in our city, and see whether the graves are in better condition. The trouble is that people who have friends or relatives in the Free Cemetery are too penurious to give a small sum yearly to keep their graves in fair condition. This is a common custom at all the regular cemeteries, Jewish and Christian, and should all the more be observed at the Free Burial Cemetery, which has to rely on charity for its income. JUSTICE.
"NEW YORK, October 6th, 1879."
"The Cemetery Question." Jewish Messenger 46(15). October 8, 1879: 5 col 1.

Linda Board: 26th Aug 2014 - 03:43 GMT

Although I have no loved ones within this cemetery, the pictures say many words and seeing them has brought tears to my eyes. So very, very sad and disturbing and yet not uncommon. In the almost 40 years researching my family line, I have seen desecration of other cemeteries, some completely gone due to farmers plowing over bodies and cows trampling over tombstones until both are unrecognizable.

That said, there is even more reason to be angry here because some of these burials are less than 50 years old! It may be someone should think about a lawsuit, especially the one person whose family had pre-arranged perpetual care. My heart and prayers go out to all who have family here.

Thomas: So has anything been done to right this wrong/

Comment on this article..


Type your comment here: Upload photos (opens in popup window)

[previous] :: [next]


recent discussions

Snafu at the Former Plattsburgh Air Force Base
from: EvilGentleman
Sunset Park
from: little ukraine
Pilgrim State Psychiatric Center
from: Sean Hopkins
Old New York in Colour - Part III - Lower East Side
from: Franny Wentzel
St. Johns Place Then
from: Janet
Beach's Pneumatic Subway
from: Franny Wentzel
Followup Graffiti Hunt
from: Jamie
The Elusive Red Tailed Black Squirrel
from: Biff
James M. Baxter Terrace
from: Peter
Tokyo Living
from: jeeff

from the archives

La Higienica Restaurant

I like the Pacman-style font they used on the sign. Crown Heights, Brooklyn...

La Higienica Restaurant

recently viewed

from: Metro
Bayside Acacia Cemetery
from: NWhyC
Big Architecture
from: jeeff
How Sweet It Is!
from: Quinn Media
Gnat, the Ratdog
from: lisacat
Silver Sufer Metro in Blackbook
from: Metro1
from: etienne
Just Before the War with the Eskimos
from: Franny Wentzel
Church Street Dogs
from: Biff
Bruce's Mill
from: Michelle