Cemeteries of any sort are not "green spaces" or dog parks

There’s an unusual sort of protest taking place in New York City this week and at least for once, it has nothing to do with Black Lives Matter, racism, police, or the usual sources of marches and riots. In fact, this topic quiet in nature… perhaps eerily quiet. And it probably says something about the mindset of New York City residents. Families who have relatives buried at Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn say that the resting place for their loved ones is literally going to the dogs. People have been coming to the cemetery to walk their pooches or engage in day drinking. Some are even having picnics among the tombstones. This led to a public rally over the weekend where protesters demanded that the management of the cemetery start enforcing the rules and showing the appropriate respect for the dead. (CBS New York)

Families of loved ones buried at Evergreens Cemetery in Brooklyn say the sacred space is being misused by the public.

A rally was held Saturday outside the Bushwick cemetery.

Family members are calling on cemetery management to start enforcing rules and regulations.

“It’s very upsetting that you can’t come in here and feel safe, that people have a dog coming to run after you or people are in there drinking and doing things that they shouldn’t be doing. This is a cemetery. This is not a green space.

One of the really irksome aspects of this behavior is the sheer laziness on display. If you look at an overhead view of this part of Brooklyn you’ll see that Evergreens is only one of nearly a dozen cemeteries sandwiched into the wooded area. Running along in front of the graveyard is Jackie Robinson Parkway and immediately on the other side of it is Highland Park. That’s an actual park with a lake and grassy areas for people to enjoy. When you have that option staring you in the face, why would you take your partying activities to a graveyard?

Beyond that, I’m left wondering what sort of people would think it’s a nifty idea to take their dog out to pee on the gravestones of someone’s departed relatives and friends. If, as reported, visitors are encountering dogs that are running off their leashes, that’s another compounding factor. Cracking open a six-pack of beer while sitting on a person’s grave is beyond rude. It’s blasphemous. What sort of mentality is required to think that this space is an appropriate venue for a picnic?

I’m guessing that one of the main issues to contend with is that the cemetery’s administrators probably don’t have much (if anything) in the way of security personnel monitoring the place. I know the cemetery where my parents are buried doesn’t have anyone on staff except for the person who mows the grass and clears the snow from the car paths during the winter. Why would you feel the need to pay for a security team? It’s a cemetery! Every time my wife and I visit there is never anyone there other than other relatives paying their respects. (Unless there’s a funeral in progress.)

Rather than appealing to the people running the facility, I wonder if the protesters couldn’t work with CBS News since they’re already investigating the situation. Rather than trying to arrest the trespassers, it might suffice to publicly shame them. Have a camera crew and a reporter show up for a number of days in a row and start interviewing the people who are doing this and show their faces on the evening news every night.

I’ll get down off of my soapbox now. I understand this isn’t the biggest breaking news in the country right now, but it just got under my skin. New York City is full of a bunch of odd ducks on the best of days, but this is simply creepy and insulting behavior.

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David Strom 6:00 PM | February 27, 2024