Workers arrived at the magnificent Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn on Tuesday morning to find a horrible sight: 43 memorials and monuments were destroyed at some point during the night. The cemetery's resident historian, Jeff Richman, says, "I have been visiting Green-Wood since 1986, and, while I recall some incidents of vandalism, I cannot remember anything on this scale or close to it. Gravestones were pushed over and shattered. An entire arch was toppled. Urns were cracked and pushed off their bases. Four marble crosses were toppled; three of them broke into pieces."
The NYPD Hate Crimes Squad is investigating the vandalism, swabbing the tombstones for DNA and dusting for fingerprints. Richman says surveillance cameras at the 478-acre cemetery caught one of the vandals on camera, and that footage has been turned over to police. The cost of repairing the damage is estimated to be in excess of $100,000, but some of the damage is irreparable. People suck.
"Society has many duties," Richman writes on the cemetery's blog. "Certainly one of those is to protect those who cannot protect themselves. And, who is less able to protect themselves than those who have passed away? So, when mindless vandalism like this occurs, society, and all of us, have a duty to protect these memorials. Although neither Green-Wood Cemetery nor The Green-Wood Historic Fund have any legal obligation to repair vandalized monuments, we are stepping up here and will be repairing each and every one of them. We also have been contacting the families of those whose graves were desecrated."
The cemetery is soliciting donations to help cover the cost of the repairs here. And, in case you were wondering, the famous statue of Minerva was not harmed. This weekend is an ideal time to visit her, as the 236th Battle of Brooklyn will be reenacted at the cemetery on Sunday.