JewishGen Discussion Group #JewishGen Mt. Zion Cemetery, NYC #general


Toni Kamins <toni.kamins@...>
 

Posted by Maria Torres, July 8, 2002
Incidentally, Manhattan is dotted with very old Sephardic plots, smack in
the middle of street. They consist of not more than ten graves per plot.
There are far more graves than ten.....in some cases it's a few dozen.

I pass by one in the West Village, very near the Jefferson Market library,
almost every week. It dates >from about 1868, is, as I remember, Portuguese
Sephardic, and is tightly-locked against all comers. The stones seem to be
imbedded into the building wall behind it
Only some stones are embedded in the foundation wall of the adjacent
building....others are free standing.

and the writing is too small and worn to read >from where you're forced to
stand. I know that, during the
mid-19th century, the library was a women's prison,
The library (Jefferson Market) was actually a court house; the women's
prison (the Women's House of Detention) was next door until the 1970s.

and that Washington Square, only a short skip away, was a Potters'
Field, so this little cemetery was not, at that time, in the most
desirable area.
Not true. At the time the cemetery was founded Greenwich Village was a
country area of town houses and mansions. It was not the urban scape you
see today. There were even many creeks and brooks running through it.

I recall another, tiny plot -- mabybe five graves at the most, with the
same feel to the stones and the wear to them -- near Chinatown,
It's at Chatham Square and it has a few dozen graves.

but have only seen it once and never been able to re-discover it.
Again, at the time I'm assuming this plot would have been established,
this area of Manhattan was a slum community known as Five Points
(unless my chronology is way off).
Your chronology is way off as is your geography. In the first place
Chatham Square is nowhere near the area known as Five Points. Chatham
Square is in today's Chinatown, while Five Points is in Soho further
uptown and to the west. The Sephardic cemetery on Chatham Square to which
you refer was the cemetery of New York/New Amsterdam's first Jewish
community in the 17th century. The Five Points slum developed over a
century later.

Manhattan has three cemeteries that were founded by the Sephardic
Community: the first on Chatham Square, the second on W. 11th street
between Fifth and Sixth avenues, and the third on 21st street between
Sixth and Seventh Avenues. The fourth is in Queens.

Toni L. Kamins
New York, NY
toni.kamins@verizon.net

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