Exploring East New York

I hope to be able to write about East New York (ENY), and a friend drove me around the neighborhood yesterday. More about that on another day, but he also drove me to Houdini’s grave (in Queens, but close to ENY). I thought a message to his wife was engraved on his headstone, but I googled it and it turns out I remembered the story wrong. The message I remembered was actually a secret code he would communicate to her after his death. If she got it, it would be proof of life after death.

But I noticed there wasn’t a death date for her on the tombstone. That’s because she’s buried elsewhere. He is buried in a Jewish cemetery and she is buried in a Catholic cemetery, so perhaps it was religious thing. Further proof humanity is nuts. Like having relationships isn’t tricky enough. Let’s come up with ways to make it even more challenging!

Stacy Horn

I've written six non-fiction books, the most recent is Damnation Island: Poor, Sick, Mad, and Criminal in 19th-Century New York.

View all posts by Stacy Horn →

2 thoughts on “Exploring East New York

  1. Married neighbors in my rural hometown had this put on their tombstone: Wilhelmina (Lutheran) and Ray (Catholic). After they both died, their children had the stone recut to say Wife and Husband (evidently something had to be carved, they couldn’t just leave it blank?) instead of the religious clarification. People are indeed nuts. 🙂 (Said the Catholic married to a Methodist, which is working out just fine, probably because the Catholic admits her church has some problems and the Methodist appreciates that honesty.)

    My favorite part of that picture is the little lock. I started out looking at the rocks–did you leave one of those or were they there–and then noticed that tiny little lock. Sweet.

  2. They were all already there, and there were more locks than the one pictured. People must leave things all the time. And it’s not like that cemetery is easy to get to.

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