Bayside Cemetery and Acacia Cemetery, Queens


Ira Leviton
 

I have several things to add to Andy Monat's detailed message about Bayside and Acacia cemeteries,

Several months ago Shaare Zedek erected a chain link fence at between Bayside and Acacia.  It's no longer possible to go directly between the two cemeteries, including for those societies that had plots adjacent to each other, such as for the society that I tend.  If you are considering visiting Bayside and used to enter through Acacia, you can't do that anymore, and Bayside is open only on Wednesdays from 8AM to noon and Sundays from 9AM to 1PM.  (Andy said that he was there in the fall of 2019, so the fence must have been put in place very shortly after his visit.)  In some instances where the border between the two cemeteries was not clear, graves at the border of the cemeteries may have wound up on the wrong side of the fence - this is pretty obvious when looking because the fence is not straight as it should have been, but zig-zags around graves.  Additionally, in some instances, it seems that stones have been pushed aside when the fence was put in place.

On the north side of Bayside Cemetery (i.e., Liberty Avenue), the old iron fence has been removed and a chain link fence has been put in place there.  However, it looks like it's temporary - and I sure hope so because the last row of graves is now *outside* the fence.  For the time being, anybody walking on Liberty Avenue alongside the portion of the cemetery that is at street level can... well, I'll just say that it's practically begging for vandalism because there is absolutely nothing between the sidewalk and the last row of graves, and there has been plenty of vandalism in Bayside over the last few decades.

There is a fence between Bayside and Mokom Sholom cemeteries, and as far as I know, always has been, although it may be hidden by trees and bushes.

As long as the trees are present in Bayside, it will look more like a forest than a cemetery.  Since there was no maintenance in Bayside for decades, hundreds of those trees are many stories tall, and taking them down is a very difficult proposition.  I'm not an expert, but these trees can't simply be chopped down because of the surrounding gravestones - they have to be climbed and cut down in small sections.  As far as I can tell, this would cost millions to do and there is no plan for it.  So Bayside will continue to resemble a forest, although Acacia, right next to it, is well maintained.

And finally, don't let Shaare Zedek's web page of frequently asked questions and information about Bayside fool you - just like in any other cemetery, the organizations and societies that have plots in Bayside do not own the land and have never been responsible for maintenance.  The deplorable condition of Bayside happened under Shaare Zedek's care, or lack of it.  They own the cemetery and are completely responsible for it, and have simply been avoiding that responsibility for decades.  Now that they have received millions of dollars for selling their synagogue building, I hope that they use it to do right for the people who are buried on their land.

Ira Leviton

New York, N.Y.


Joan
 

This is wonderful!  My great grandparents were buried in Acacia cemetery!  If anyone else goes there, the last name is Zalka.

Joan Silverman
 Revere, Massachusetts


Steven Lasky
 

Just to let you know that in the past I have photographed the gravestones in a number of plots in Acacia and Mokom Sholom cemeteries. I have, within the last year, donated images of said gravestones to JewishGen's JOWBR. I imagine that they have not yet been reviewed and entered into their system, just waiting for volunteer(s) to do so. So if you can, I would encourage you to do so.

The following town associations for plots I have photographed are:
For Acacia: Makow Mazowiecki, Mielec, Suwalki, Vilnius, Sierpc, Nasielsk, as well as Congregation Nachlas Israel.
For Mokom Sholom: Radzilow/Lebedow (for this plot I have the burial data), and Mielec.

I have donated thousands of images from at least thirty cemeteries in the New York-New Jersey area, and they are just waiting to be put online by JewishGen. So please contact Nolan Altman if you can help. Thank you!

You can find my own museum's "Cemetery Project" on my site, which is quite interesting and informative. The link is:  http://www.museumoffamilyhistory.com/cp-main.htm

Best,
Steve Lasky



Alan Steinfeld
 

Nice job Andy.  I don't have relatives at Bayside but have investigated for others.  Thanks for the update.

Alan Steinfeld
Scarsdale, NY


-----Original Message-----
From: Andy Monat <amonat@...>
To: main <main@...>
Sent: Fri, Jan 24, 2020 10:22 pm
Subject: [JewishGen.org] Bayside Cemetery and Acacia Cemetery, Queens #cemeteries

Bayside Cemetery in Queens, New York has been much discussed on this mailing list over the years, but there do not appear to have been any updates from people who have visited it recently. Since I visited in fall of 2019, I thought I would share what I learned which was not clear to me from the numerous news stories which can be found online. I have no affiliation with any of these cemeteries.

Bayside is operated by Congregation Shaare Zedek. Their web site http://www.sznyc.org has information about the cemetery; see especially http://www.sznyc.org/frequently-asked-questions-bayside-cemetery. That page also lists their email address office@.... When I wrote that email address, I received a reply including a map of the cemetery including the names of the burial societies, which proved very useful; that map was basically identical to the one at http://www.baysidecemeterylitigation.com/uploads/BaysideCemetery-Map-WWW.pdf. I also asked them about specific names of people I knew were buried there, and the office staff kindly searched the records. Their information is limited, but they did find some of the people I asked about.

Bayside is part of the same complex as two other cemeteries, bounded by 80th St on the west, 84th St on the east, Liberty Ave on the north, and Pitkin Ave on the south. The western part of the complex is Mokom Shalom cemetery, which I did not research. The central part is Bayside. The eastern part is Acacia cemetery. The exterior of the complex is enclosed by metal fences, but as far as I could tell there were no fences between the different cemeteries. Not only is there nothing preventing you from walking from Acacia into Bayside, it might not even be obvious to you that you have done so.

The area was industrial on the north side and residential on the east and west sides. It seemed perfectly safe to us.

I was interested in burials in both Acacia and Bayside. My relatives and I parked on Liberty Ave, near the Acacia entrance. Note that the elevated A train of the New York City Subway runs above Liberty Ave. The entrance gate is through the center of a two-story building which must have formerly been the Acacia office; now there are no on-site office staff, but a call to their phone number which I found on Google Maps and FindAGrave (718-845-9240) reached staff located elsewhere who were able to look up burials in Acacia and tell me which section they would be found in.

I had brought a hand-drawn map passed down to me by a distant relative, made at least a few decades ago. It listed certain things that clearly matched the map of Bayside, once I was able to decipher the handwriting, such as Liberty Ave, Pitkin Ave, Acacia, various gate numbers, "restrooms" (just inside the Acadia entrance; these are no longer operational but there were portable toilets nearby), names of relatives buried there, and then some names I didn't recognize like Moe Levy. These last turned out to be landmarks - they were names on large mausoleums, which make for easy navigation as they can be spotted from some distance away.

A relative who came with me had found and brought photographs from the 1970s of my elderly great-grandmother and her siblings visiting the cemetery, including photos of them standing at their mother's grave. The old photos of their mother Sara Scheinzeit's grave were especially helpful, since they made clear it can be seen from outside the cemetery, on the sidewalk! (See my current-day photos of it at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/128107217/chaya-sarah-scheinzeit and note the fence is the exterior cemetery fence; you'll also find other relatives linked from that page.)

After entering via the Acacia gate, we quickly found graves of relatives in Acacia's Mariam Polen section, near the north fence. Following the old hand-drawn map, we walked west a hundred feet or so and were in Bayside, where we saw Sara Scheinzeit's grave from the other side. That and the other parts of Bayside we visited were in much better shape than I had expected. There was some broken glass just inside the fence, but most of the graves we saw were upright and not overgrown with trees or other plants. The ones made of hard stone were perfectly legible, though some gates were made of soft stone which has weathered as is typical, and parts of them were illegible.

In Bayside, we visited gate 44 (Mariam Polen Congregation; same society as we visited in Acacia), and gate 74 (Congregation Kol Israel Anshi Polen Swalk No. 1). We found graves for people with the surnames SCHEINZEIT, SCHONZEIT, DUBERSTEIN, and SCHNEIDER.

I would be happy to try to answer questions from people who have them, though this email contains most of what I know about Bayside and Acacia.

Andy Monat
Massachusetts, USA


David Lewin
 

Andy Monat's email gives me an opening to share a problem:-

The late Florence Lesser Marmor (1933-2018) and David Roy Gevertzman (1945-2007), together with a bunch of other volunteers [ I do not know who they were] devoted much of their time and effort to recording the burials at Mokom Sholom  Bayside and Accacia cmeteries.

I was the "safety depository" for backups of Florence's research and I am currently attempting to create a working web site for that part of the Florence research which I posses.

When she died Florence left an enormous collection of paper records which are still being assembled by her children.   I hope one day to get sight of that archive and compare it with what I already have electronically.

Right now I am working on a spreadsheet with about 12,700 individual burials.  It is currently in .xlsx format.

The spreadsheet has column headings
Family Name  
Personal name
TYPE                   [ monument. vault, mostly empty field in the data ]
Notes                   [often with "death cert #"  and undertaker age, cause of death, congregation, gate number  etc etc ]
Record No by cemetery

I am NOT a web site writer and would welcome anyone who can tell me how this can be turned into a decent, searchable web site.

Simply putting a spread sheet of that size onto a web site means that it will take an endless time to download.

Merely searching for a name is NOT good enough.   For that the enquirer would need to know how a person was recorded.  With the multitude of geographic origins of the names, spelling variations are endless. 
David = Dovid  is just one example of very many.  

The researcher may want to know not just "where is XY buried"  but often which people of a particular surname are buried there?  Do they relate to one another?  You simply cannot see that on a page which tells you about a single individual.

I would like the web site at the same time to be a memorial to Florence and David .   I do not  know where  that can be parked,   I do not think Jewisgen is the place.   Its rules are too rigid.

I would welcome ideas and suggestions.  I am struggling.

David Lewin
London


At 02:57 25/01/2020, Andy Monat wrote:

Bayside Cemetery in Queens, New York has been much discussed on this mailing list over the years, but there do not appear to have been any updates from people who have visited it recently. Since I visited in fall of 2019, I thought I would share what I learned which was not clear to me from the numerous news stories which can be found online. I have no affiliation with any of these cemeteries.

Bayside is operated by Congregation Shaare Zedek. Their web site http://www.sznyc.org has information about the cemetery; see especially http://www.sznyc.org/frequently-asked-questions-bayside-cemetery. That page also lists their email address office@.... When I wrote that email address, I received a reply including a map of the cemetery including the names of the burial societies, which proved very useful; that map was basically identical to the one at http://www.baysidecemeterylitigation.com/uploads/BaysideCemetery-Map-WWW.pdf . I also asked them about specific names of people I knew were buried there, and the office staff kindly searched the records. Their information is limited, but they did find some of the people I asked about.

Bayside is part of the same complex as two other cemeteries, bounded by 80th St on the west, 84th St on the east, Liberty Ave on the north, and Pitkin Ave on the south. The western part of the complex is Mokom Shalom cemetery, which I did not research. The central part is Bayside. The eastern part is Acacia cemetery. The exterior of the complex is enclosed by metal fences, but as far as I could tell there were no fences between the different cemeteries. Not only is there nothing preventing you from walking from Acacia into Bayside, it might not even be obvious to you that you have done so.

The area was industrial on the north side and residential on the east and west sides. It seemed perfectly safe to us.

I was interested in burials in both Acacia and Bayside. My relatives and I parked on Liberty Ave, near the Acacia entrance. Note that the elevated A train of the New York City Subway runs above Liberty Ave. The entrance gate is through the center of a two-story building which must have formerly been the Acacia office; now there are no on-site office staff, but a call to their phone number which I found on Google Maps and FindAGrave (718-845-9240) reached staff located elsewhere who were able to look up burials in Acacia and tell me which section they would be found in.

I had brought a hand-drawn map passed down to me by a distant relative, made at least a few decades ago. It listed certain things that clearly matched the map of Bayside, once I was able to decipher the handwriting, such as Liberty Ave, Pitkin Ave, Acacia, various gate numbers, "restrooms" (just inside the Acadia entrance; these are no longer operational but there were portable toilets nearby), names of relatives buried there, and then some names I didn't recognize like Moe Levy. These last turned out to be landmarks - they were names on large mausoleums, which make for easy navigation as they can be spotted from some distance away.

A relative who came with me had found and brought photographs from the 1970s of my elderly great-grandmother and her siblings visiting the cemetery, including photos of them standing at their mother's grave. The old photos of their mother Sara Scheinzeit's grave were especially helpful, since they made clear it can be seen from outside the cemetery, on the sidewalk! (See my current-day photos of it at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/128107217/chaya-sarah-scheinzeit and note the fence is the exterior cemetery fence; you'll also find other relatives linked from that page.)

After entering via the Acacia gate, we quickly found graves of relatives in Acacia's Mariam Polen section, near the north fence. Following the old hand-drawn map, we walked west a hundred feet or so and were in Bayside, where we saw Sara Scheinzeit's grave from the other side. That and the other parts of Bayside we visited were in much better shape than I had expected. There was some broken glass just inside the fence, but most of the graves we saw were upright and not overgrown with trees or other plants. The ones made of hard stone were perfectly legible, though some gates were made of soft stone which has weathered as is typical, and parts of them were illegible.

In Bayside, we visited gate 44 (Mariam Polen Congregation; same society as we visited in Acacia), and gate 74 (Congregation Kol Israel Anshi Polen Swalk No. 1). We found graves for people with the surnames SCHEINZEIT, SCHONZEIT, DUBERSTEIN, and SCHNEIDER.

I would be happy to try to answer questions from people who have them, though this email contains most of what I know about Bayside and Acacia.

Andy Monat
Massachusetts, USA


Andy Monat
 

Bayside Cemetery in Queens, New York has been much discussed on this mailing list over the years, but there do not appear to have been any updates from people who have visited it recently. Since I visited in fall of 2019, I thought I would share what I learned which was not clear to me from the numerous news stories which can be found online. I have no affiliation with any of these cemeteries.

Bayside is operated by Congregation Shaare Zedek. Their web site http://www.sznyc.org has information about the cemetery; see especially http://www.sznyc.org/frequently-asked-questions-bayside-cemetery. That page also lists their email address office@.... When I wrote that email address, I received a reply including a map of the cemetery including the names of the burial societies, which proved very useful; that map was basically identical to the one at http://www.baysidecemeterylitigation.com/uploads/BaysideCemetery-Map-WWW.pdf. I also asked them about specific names of people I knew were buried there, and the office staff kindly searched the records. Their information is limited, but they did find some of the people I asked about.

Bayside is part of the same complex as two other cemeteries, bounded by 80th St on the west, 84th St on the east, Liberty Ave on the north, and Pitkin Ave on the south. The western part of the complex is Mokom Shalom cemetery, which I did not research. The central part is Bayside. The eastern part is Acacia cemetery. The exterior of the complex is enclosed by metal fences, but as far as I could tell there were no fences between the different cemeteries. Not only is there nothing preventing you from walking from Acacia into Bayside, it might not even be obvious to you that you have done so.

The area was industrial on the north side and residential on the east and west sides. It seemed perfectly safe to us.

I was interested in burials in both Acacia and Bayside. My relatives and I parked on Liberty Ave, near the Acacia entrance. Note that the elevated A train of the New York City Subway runs above Liberty Ave. The entrance gate is through the center of a two-story building which must have formerly been the Acacia office; now there are no on-site office staff, but a call to their phone number which I found on Google Maps and FindAGrave (718-845-9240) reached staff located elsewhere who were able to look up burials in Acacia and tell me which section they would be found in.

I had brought a hand-drawn map passed down to me by a distant relative, made at least a few decades ago. It listed certain things that clearly matched the map of Bayside, once I was able to decipher the handwriting, such as Liberty Ave, Pitkin Ave, Acacia, various gate numbers, "restrooms" (just inside the Acadia entrance; these are no longer operational but there were portable toilets nearby), names of relatives buried there, and then some names I didn't recognize like Moe Levy. These last turned out to be landmarks - they were names on large mausoleums, which make for easy navigation as they can be spotted from some distance away.

A relative who came with me had found and brought photographs from the 1970s of my elderly great-grandmother and her siblings visiting the cemetery, including photos of them standing at their mother's grave. The old photos of their mother Sara Scheinzeit's grave were especially helpful, since they made clear it can be seen from outside the cemetery, on the sidewalk! (See my current-day photos of it at https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/128107217/chaya-sarah-scheinzeit and note the fence is the exterior cemetery fence; you'll also find other relatives linked from that page.)

After entering via the Acacia gate, we quickly found graves of relatives in Acacia's Mariam Polen section, near the north fence. Following the old hand-drawn map, we walked west a hundred feet or so and were in Bayside, where we saw Sara Scheinzeit's grave from the other side. That and the other parts of Bayside we visited were in much better shape than I had expected. There was some broken glass just inside the fence, but most of the graves we saw were upright and not overgrown with trees or other plants. The ones made of hard stone were perfectly legible, though some gates were made of soft stone which has weathered as is typical, and parts of them were illegible.

In Bayside, we visited gate 44 (Mariam Polen Congregation; same society as we visited in Acacia), and gate 74 (Congregation Kol Israel Anshi Polen Swalk No. 1). We found graves for people with the surnames SCHEINZEIT, SCHONZEIT, DUBERSTEIN, and SCHNEIDER.

I would be happy to try to answer questions from people who have them, though this email contains most of what I know about Bayside and Acacia.

Andy Monat
Massachusetts, USA