James J. Walker Park in the West Village

Jimmy Walker was one of NYC’s great (or perhaps “controversial” is a better term) mayors.  In Greenwich Village, they’ve got a small, but somewhat unusual park, named after him.

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The park isn’t very big, just a few acres.  Among other things, it has a children’s playground and a ballfield.

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Something I found interesting:  it also has a handball court.  You don’t see too many of these.

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Oh, and a bocci/bocce ball court.  You see very few of these.

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All pleasant, but not particularly unusual.

What’s unusual for a park is a grave.  Perhaps a mass grave as the place was a cemetery for quite some time.

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Okay, it looks like a monument.  It has two plaques on it (okay, one plaque and one engraving, well, two ‘cuz one’s on the other side).

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It reads, “This ground was used as a cemetery by Trinity Parish during the years 1834-1898.  It was made a public park by the city of New York in the year 1897-8.  This monument stood in the cemetery and was removed to this spot in the year 1898.”

The engraving on the monument reads:  “Here are interred the bodies of Eugene Underhill aged 20 years 7 months and 9 days and Frederick A. Ward aged 22 years 1 month and 16 days.  Who lost their lives by the falling of a building while engaged in the discharge of their duty as FIRE MEN on the first day of July MDCCCXXXIV.”  I believe that’s Roman numeral for 1834.

 That would make the monument one of the first in the cemetery.  I presume the “removed to this location” in the first plaque means somewhere on the block to this side of a relatively unused area, instead of perhaps in the middle of the ballfield.

-H

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Explore posts in the same categories: Greenwich Village, Manhattan, Wanderings

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