Category: Calvary Stories

Calvary and the Kosciuszko

Just a springtime jaunt to Old Calvary en route to the relatively new Kosciuszko Bridge and its pedestrian/bike path. Unlike other bridges in NYC, which can feel rickety and shaky from the force of vehicular traffic, the...

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One of the Random Things I Love About Cemeteries

Where else would you find, in the same room, Charles Atlas, John Gotti, and Mario Cuomo? Nowhere. Such a strange juxtaposition of individuals, but that’s a cemetery for you. I was not intending to stake out famous people...

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Back at Calvary Again (Video)

I went out to find the site of the only person I knew in life to be buried at Old Calvary. I found her. Some notes follow. 0:01​ – Talking about anxieties and such that I used to feel about cemeteries where I felt I had no...

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Walkers Walk.

Staring into space today. No thoughts, just a calm numbness in which time is wasted. Cannot focus on one thing over another. Presently I am processing 3 stramble videos from the past days. Stramble? you ask? A word I coined...

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The Sea of Shit

I’ve told this story before but here it is again, because blizzard.   Some years ago a monster storm rolled through New York. It lived up to the hype, with a horizontal snowblast and ½” visibility for 24 hours...

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Got on the Wrong Bus…

Got on the wrong bus today and ended up at the Hutchinson River Parkway and Lafayette Avenue, across the street from Saint Raymond’s Cemetery. I’d only entered St. Raymond’s two or three times, years ago, on...

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Bonfire at the Crematory

Here’s something I, for one, don’t see everyday. In one minute this car at St. Michael’s Cemetery in Astoria went from peacefully parked to fully engulfed in flame. I wouldn’t know what caused it, but all...

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A Stramble Through St. Michael’s Cemetery

It’s not my favorite cemetery, but it might still be where I end up spending eternity anyway. That decision making process is still in the works. This stramble led to many of my usual destinations, including certain of the...

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The Road to Covid Corner

I made it out to Calvary on Sunday. Normally this would not be especially exciting or even remarkable. But Calvary has been closed to the public for about two months as the workers there handle the influx of burials from the...

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From an Email to a Friend

I went back to Calvary. Seeing actual burials of Covid-19 victims seemed ghoulish at first, or needlessly moribund. I changed my mind. From quarantine it can start to feel like none of this is really happening. I know a...

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Reality Beckons

I should not be surprised, but it still felt unexpected to encounter the grim vision I spotted...

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East River Floods Long Island City

If this apparently doctored photo from Calvary Cemetery is to be believed it would seem the East River had risen up and flooded Long Island City as far east as Greenpoint Avenue. I would have to go back out to Calvary to prove this with certainty but I don’t think there is an unobstructed view […]

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Rachel, Weeping

This monument was destroyed sometime after 2006, when this photo was taken, in a vehicular collision that annihilated it. It is now restored, but I have not been able to tell how similar the monument of old is to that of today because i could never find this particular picture. Now I can figure it […]

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Flashback: Mt. Zion

This picture is from 2006, 12 years ago, but I’ve been back to Mt. Zion a few times since. This is the yard where John Yang collected his series of sepulchral portraits, published in 2001. I discovered his book only after my own enthusiasm for gravestone portraits had been ignited, though it should have stopped […]

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Go Walking?

I have three steakhouse gift cards to burn, and no one but myself to use them on. I left my dad’s porns in a steakhouse trash can. That’s an opening line for the story, is it not? Hah. Was thinking of the Othmar tale yesterday. It’s the one where I, as a forensic genealogist, find […]

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That Beautiful Stained Glass, and Those Portraits

This crap picture from an old Treo cameraphone does no justice to this stained glass, which I think is among the most beautiful at Old Calvary. It is in the Alvarez mausoleum, which has a connection to my hometown of Tampa. Tampa was and still is an epicenter of cigar manufacturing in the U.S., and […]

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At the Mausoleum

This is audio I made back in May, edited somewhat for length but still maybe a little too long. As with most audio I do these days it’s recorded using 3D/binaural mics, though in this case I don’t think it brings much to the experience.

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I Got a Laugh, A Little

UPDATE 12-27-2017: Added audio from when I made this discovery, just because it’s there. I spotted this mural in the St. Joseph Mausoleum at St. Michael’s Cemetery. From the look of it being painted across the two doors, and because one of those doors was opened a little bit, I thought the doors led to […]

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Awesome Gravesite Decoration

I was just heading to bed after a long day at WordPress when I spotted this picture in a folder of hundreds of photos I took last year and, until now, forgot about. It’s a burial site of a famous composer buried in Astoria, where someone put a toy piano on top of a cushion […]

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Walked and Talked, St. Joseph’s Mausoleum at St. Michael’s

The recording was interesting to me because I used only the Galaxy Note 5 and a voice recording app with no additional mic like I sometimes use. Just some rambles as I walked to the St. Joseph’s Mausoleum at St. Michael’s Cemetery. There is a second half to this that I have not played back […]

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Calvary Cemetery and the Ruins of Kosciusko

I went out to Calvary yesterday for the first time in a few months. I had heard through the media that the old Kosciusko Bridge was being slowly dismantled now that the new one is opened. But somehow this notion did not enter my mind at any point while I made my way over there. […]

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Kosciuszko Ruins

That was an interesting little jaunt. I went out to Calvary for the first time in a while, not cognizant of the fact that they were slowly demolishing the old Kosciuszko Bridge. I have heard about the slow dismantling of that bridge but thoughts of that did not enter my mind as I walked over […]

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James Novelli at Calvary, and Other Rambles

If it seems like I never post here anymore it is because I almost never post here anymore. Most of my writerly exertions go into the bottomless pit of Sorabji.MOBI, or into anonymous compartments of text that are written and promptly forgotten. For $1, I bought a leather-bound journal into which I will write side […]

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Hallelujah

We mustn’t think of these things. For that precise reason we must think of them. I did not make it to my destination. I often fail in this way but today’s failure felt especially colorized. I wanted to go to the Mausoleum, and sit. Just sit, and listen to the music. The music seems mostly […]

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Eat Less Live Longer, Funerary Union, Planning for Chapel

I should have made it to the chapel today. There was still time before I left. But I got distracted. Excuses excuses. I don’t know if one trip will be enough, given the uncertainty of my use of the place as my private recording studio. Listening to some particularly cranky Joe Frank last night at […]

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Horror

I decided to make another visit to the St. Joseph Mausoleum I had so taken a liking to. It’s at St. Michael’s Cemetery, which is at least reasonably close at hand that it was not an epic trek. With no sense of anticipation or expectation I found the place horrifying. The urns, which previously struck […]

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On Niches and Porno

If there is any type of surveillance camera or security at the St. Joseph Mausoleum then I could not find it. Maybe they are hidden in the light fixtures, which I happened to notice today for the first time. Even those were beautiful. Browsing the niches feels like I am shopping for lives, or browsing […]

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Destination: Buffalo?

Lesson learned from first foray into cloud document storage… No such thing as straight text. It’s all gotta be stylized and prettified if one wants to pass it through to Yahoo Mail, as I’ve been doing. Only way to strip out all the bullshit styles was to stuff it into Apline e-mail. There you go, […]

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Disintegrating Into Dirt, Inverted Tombstones, Obscure Memories

I left the library and ended up wandering over to St. Michael’s Cemetery. It is not among my favorite such places but somehow it felt like I was revisiting an old home, or a stomping ground. The Saint Joseph Mausoleum is, I’ve come to think, quite beautiful. I had never been in it before. It […]

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Noislessness, and those Funerary Laborers

Trying out the noise canceling headphones for the first time in a public space. Not especially noisy here at the LIBARRY but it seems to be sealing out the din and drudge of what noises I see but now cannot hear. Last night’s sleep was far from noiseless. One of my last anxiety pills down […]

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Congratulations!

Strange and elaborate dream. My big dreams usually involve myself walking through an expansive structure, a series of interconnected buildings with open and covered areas, doors to fully enclosed sections and elevators rising up or down into areas under Interstate highways or unthinkably narrow spaces between tall buildings. The architecture of the compound leans toward […]

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AsLIC, Feb. 2

I was in a text message conversation with somebody just now. On account of that I walked around the block a few times instead of entering the library. That’s because I speak my text messages. I have to speak clearly and somewhat loudly to do that with a minimum of voice recognition errors. While many […]

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Flaneur.NYC

I think I might have a superior URL for this site, and for all my sites going forward. Everything could be dumped on to Flaneur.NYC. The word itself better reflects who I am, and .NYC as a TLD makes more sense than Sorabji dot anything. I actually came to really despise the .NYC TLD. But […]

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NOISE

Last night, for just a few minutes, was possibly the weirdest span of time I’ve had in New York. Around 7pm I went outside. Echoing from the walls of a 6-story building across the street was an avalanche of noise. It was a cacophonous sound like nothing I have ever heard. Nobody was around, either, […]

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Sorabji.MOBI: MORRISEY ROCKS

I’ve been cleaning up Sorabji.MOBI, assigning posts to categories and (next up) tagging every single one of the 2,673 published posts. I might have to give up on the comprehensive tagging, but I will at least go over the most recent few hundred postings. This MORRISEY ROCKS stone is at Old Calvary. It looked amusing at […]

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Nikon 060818

I found a CD labeled with handwritten marker “NIKON 060818”. I used to save and back up my photos every few weeks by fitting as much stuff as I could onto a 4.7gb DVD disc. The DVD seemed at first to offer exponentially more space than the 640mb and 700mb CDs it usurped. But I […]

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Melancholy.

I came up with this after a long afternoon spent beating my head against a wall trying to get best quality recordings from a Roland digital piano. This music could be a basis for something more substantive. But really I think I just wanted to sing. Cables from the piano go into a TASCAM mixer. The TASCAM sends […]

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The Silence at Mount Lebanon

One otherwise perfectly reasonable individual once said to me: “I don’t care if it’s faster. I don’t care if it takes me to the front door of where I need to go. I wouldn’t even care if it was cheaper. I will not take the bus.”

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Chapel Not So Silent. Part One.

This did not go exactly as planned, but it sounds unruly and improvisatory. I had intended to try three stories in here, two of them with a more appropriately religious theme. But I only got through the one story about musicians getting through life by lying on their performance resumés. I made it to the chapel thinking it would […]

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Who Knew FedEx Delivered to the Cemetery?

This looked like a writing prompt. A FedEx Express van — Express, no less! — was seen at New Calvary Cemetery this weekend. This was almost certainly just a FedEx delivery person taking a well-deserved break in a place where parking is easy. Or else they had actually visited a grave site while on their […]

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311 Failures

A few weeks ago I spotted an abandoned car in the general vicinity of Calvary Cemetery. The car had been there for months, maybe more than a year. Windows have been bashed out and the car pillaged for scrap. Cars like this are magnets for crime creation. Is this why the NYPD keeps them around?

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Birds-Eye View of Calvary Cemetery, 1855

Here is an image that is new to me. The Museum of the City of New York shared a Bird’s-Eye View of Calvary Cemetery from 1855, which shows a landscape barely recognizable compared to the Calvary of today.

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Talking in the Chapel

I recently obtained binaural microphones for use with a Sony field recorder. “Binaural” looks like it would be defined as a urinal with two receptacles but it actually refers to sound recorded using two microphones usually transmitted separately to the two ears.

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“Shades of Blue” at Calvary

Last night I was typing an e-mail to a friend. This e-mail included mention of Calvary Cemetery. Just as I finished typing those two words I looked up at the television and saw Ray Liotta standing at Calvary Cemetery in Queens. He appeared in a commercial promoting “Shades of Blue,” a new series on NBC […]

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Kosciuszko Bridge: Sounds

I was starting to think I never actually made this recording. It took hours to find among hundreds of untagged and unorganized .WAV files. I spent an afternoon at Calvary in March, 2011, with a Sony PCM-D50 field recorder and a Sony ECM-MS957 microphone, recording the rickety, fragile sound of the Kosciuszko Bridge portion of […]

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Serious Foliage at the Boneyard

I don’t usually notice pretty things, especially in nature, but today’s blast of yellow and the hustling sound of leaves falling from trees at Calvary was sweet to see — and hear. Fall may look beautiful but never forget its sound. It looks like fall but in my shorts and t-shirt on this 75° day […]

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Chapel

Someone hung their hat on the sign giving direction to First Calvary Chapel today. I did not see this on the way in but noticed as I left, after spending about 20 minutes sitting alone in the gloomy, somewhat dumpy cemetery church. The All Souls Day Mass was held earlier in the day, a fact […]

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chapel

It’s funny how this has changed. Whenever I think of the word “cemetery” now something inside of me weakens. It’s like my spleen smiles. It used to be entirely the opposite. It was a word I felt should not even be spoken. I am heading there right now, hoping I will be able to sit […]

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Loud

Most of this entry comes from me speaking into my cell phone and letting speech recognition software attempt to transcribe what I said. That stuff does remarkably well, assuming you enunciate clearly, do not speak too fast, and experience limited background noise. I edited out most of the transcription errors but left a few in […]

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Calvary Cemetery Chapel: What a Dump.

I have stepped into the Calvary chapel 7 or 8 times. As with Calvary Cemetery itself I circled the chapel structure for years before actually entering. It took several months of passing the Greenpoint Avenue entrance before entering the grounds. I found it not blasphemous but self-serving to think I had business on burial grounds with […]

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A Note To John Yang, from Russ Perry

Some years ago I commenced, with great enthusiasm, a collection of photos capturing images of the dead as seen in what are known as “Sepulchral Portraits” on tombstones at Calvary and other New York City cemeteries, including Mt. Zion, St. Michael’s, and Mt. Olivet. The more I pursued this endeavor the more I found myself […]

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Garden of the Holy Family Columbarium

I made a short video walk through of the new Garden of the Holy Family Columbarium at 2nd Calvary in Queens. See if you don’t think my voice sounds like Joe Frank on a really bad assignment.

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Loud Cemetery

Calvary might be a place to rest in peace, but not in quiet. This video doesn’t quite do justice to the overwhelmingly droning, drowning volume of noise that rains down on the grounds of Fourth Calvary from traffic on the Long Island Expressway. The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway cuts through another portion of the grounds, separating 2nd […]

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Tereraho. Rusine. Rwanda. What Does It Mean?

At first glance I was unsettled by this marker for a 3½ year old child at Calvary Cemetery in Queens. I imagined that “TERERAHO” was code word for “terror” and that this was some kind of political statement aimed at Rwandan genocide. That potential intrigue was happily dashed after a quick search at Ancestry.com revealed that […]

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Out There

For the first time in years I was interviewed about matters that had nothing to do with payphones. And it happened twice in one week! Who’d’a thunk it. I would not have objected had the subject come up but it did not. First up came Peter Mastrosimone’s welcome and nicely done appreciation of my “Where […]

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Statue Swap at Calvary

Rummaging through old photos again, I spotted this set from Calvary, where I seem to have spotted a statue swap. [Best_Wordpress_Gallery gallery_type=”image_browser” theme_id=”1″ gallery_id=”1″ sort_by=”order” order_by=”asc” show_search_box=”0″ search_box_width=”180″ image_browser_width=”640″ image_browser_title_enable=”0″ image_browser_description_enable=”1″ thumb_click_action=”undefined” thumb_link_target=”undefined” popup_fullscreen=”1″ popup_autoplay=”0″ popup_width=”800″ popup_height=”500″ popup_effect=”fade” popup_interval=”5″ popup_enable_filmstrip=”0″ popup_filmstrip_height=”70″ popup_enable_ctrl_btn=”1″ popup_enable_fullscreen=”0″ popup_enable_info=”0″ popup_info_always_show=”0″ popup_enable_rate=”0″ popup_enable_comment=”0″ popup_hit_counter=”0″ popup_enable_facebook=”0″ popup_enable_twitter=”0″ popup_enable_google=”0″ popup_enable_pinterest=”0″ popup_enable_tumblr=”0″ watermark_type=”none” watermark_link=”http://sorabji.com”]

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Thin Ice

My favorite shot from a visit to the North Burial ground in Providence, Rhode Island, had no particular relevance to its location at a graveyard. This “THIN ICE” sign was on a tree near the lake, within shouting distance of the Moshassuck River and Interstate 95. There was no ice on the nearby lake. Only […]

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Vincent de Gaetano

Something made me think of this last night. It is a gravestone portrait I spotted some years ago. I thought it was an especially proud photo for a tombstone. I should have known a dark story swam beneath. De Gaetano’s Air Supply Cut Off at Bottom of the Harlem. COMRADES DIVE TO RESCUE Physician Works […]

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Siren Cemetery

This sound of a siren at the cemetery has lingered in my mind since I caught it a few days ago. It sounds sweet, the siren, and stately as it passes into the distance. Listening to its passage I found myself trying to interpret its slow-moving progress, and I imagined that my fantasy sirens-savant really […]

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Dog Day at the Yard

If it ever stops raining I plan to take a crack at this project I’ve wanted for years to do. These two shots are screen grabs from the opening minutes of “Dog Day Afternoon”, the 1975 film starring Al Pacino as Sonny Wortzik (whose real name was John Stanley Wojtowicz). These stills from the movie […]

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Daly & Daly

I made a very strange discovery at Calvary last week. A couple of years ago I made a project of finding the fictional burial site of Vito Corleone in Francis Ford Coppola’s film The Godfather. I am not a Godfather fanatic by any estimate but as a Calvary wanderer it was fun to step through […]

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Phillip Cardillo and Charley White

I often visit a certain part of Calvary to check in on the Calvary Civil War Veterans Memorial (I’ll have more to say about the Civil War Memorial another day) as well as the nearby Alsop Family Cemetery. While passing between these two places today I noticed a grave from 1972 with a conspicuous quantity […]

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Motel of Life

I am sitting in the kitchen, in the dark. I feel like I am in a motel. The refrigerator rumbles like a groggy, forgotten god. The clock ticks like a memory of a debt owed. The table shakes as I type these words. Maybe this is a motel: The motel of life, where every room […]

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Intracranial Cavity

I fell in love with the Intracranial Cavity of Mary last year. When I found her high atop Section 2 at Old Calvary last summer I guessed she had stood there for well over 100 years, her skull cavity collecting earth and her quiet stare not flinching for longer than any of us has lived. […]

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Johnston Mausoleum

OCTOBER, 2019: SCROLL DOWN FOR AN INTERESTING UPDATE TO THIS STORY. The Johnston Mausoleum at Calvary Cemetery in Queens is bigger than many houses. It is so large that it would appear to have functioned not just as a crypt but as a full chapel. Conspicuously visible to drivers on the nearby Kosckiuszko Bridge, this […]

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