The Tombstones of Central Park

Yesterday was an overcast day with snippets of sunshine peaking through… In between getting breakfast at Alice’s Tea Cup and waiting for the Frick Collection to open, I took a stroll through Central Park. It was during this walk that I came upon a roundabout with the US flag blowing in the wind as pictured above. I immediately felt a different energy from this area and wandered aimlessly around trying to pinpoint what exactly it was that made me feel a connection to this space. I finally realized that all the benches had plaques on them…

And as I was walking from bench to bench perusing their messages, I noticed an elderly man sitting on one of the benches watching me as I read. We made eye contact, I gave him an acknowledging smile and head nod and continued on reading. But I could tell he was still passively requesting my attention so I looked over his way again and that’s when he said,  “These are the dead benches … You don’t get a plaque on these benches unless you’re dead.” I gave him a nonchalant answer of “Cool” and continued reading but inside, knew he had just given me the answer to my question.

 

I’ve always had an interest with reading the tombstones in cemeteries. I also cringe at the thought walking over dead bodies to get to the tombstone and always mentally say “sorry” so the spirits won’t think I’m being disrespectful. Granted they are buried in caskets a good 6-8 feet down under … I still feel bad tho … But my curiosity to read the tombstones always overcomes my fear of a dead body popping out of the ground and telling me to “watch my step.” I think my interest stems from my fascination with greek & roman mythology and the idea of being immortal… To me … A tombstone is another form of keeping a person’s memory alive. {I also scroll through the obituaries in the New York Times whenever I browse through. Thanks Dan}

Who were these people that died? What about the loved ones they left behind? Are there fresh flowers on the tombstone or have they been abandoned and completely forgotten after death? What is this person’s legacy?

Shoot … To be downright honest … It also makes me wonder … What will be my legacy? What will my tombstone say whenever that time comes? Will people stop by to read my tombstone and leave fresh flowers? Or will I be forgotten after death? Who knows …

The world is full of so many people and living in a place like New York City, it’s so easy to become detached from the intimate humanity of life. But sometimes walking through cemeteries, reading obituaries and then yesterday, reading the plaques of those long gone on the benches in Central Park helps make me feel more grounded and in touch with my own spirit. I may not know these people whose loved ones have immortalized their memory with these plaques but by taking the time to a read a page, moment or verse from their life story, I feel like I’m doing my part in keeping their memory alive as well :)

Will share pics from my breakfast at Alice’s Tea Cup later… Like later, later. This week is gonna be a busy week for me. No pics from the Frick Collection tho … They won’t fricken allow pictures to be taken at the fricken Frick Collection ;( Which was actually kind of refreshing and allowed me to really focus on learning about the artifacts I was looking at as apposed to getting a great shot. This small museum is exclusively awesome … I saw some really dope old clocks in there!
Happy Monday Everyone!
xo, Setarra
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  • Thank you for sharing these bench tombstones, the messages are so poignant and wonderful to read. I love the idea of having a bench in a place that I loved. This post definitely helped me feel centered this morning!

  • I didnt even know Central Park had those! I think its so cool to see that people want to have their loved ones always remembered. Even by people who didnt know them. It shows history and people may be more apt to continuing the legacy.

    Newer follower!! bourgiechronicles.blogspot.com

    XOXO

  • Looks like you had fun! I remember going to do graveyard etchings in elementary school. We looked the people up once we got back to school and tried to figure out what their lives were like based on the time period.

    -Karen
    http://www.yourstylistkaren.com

  • WOW! Those plaques on the park benches are super adorable and some very impactful.
    xo Deanna | Curly Adventures

  • Those plaques are hauntingly beautiful. It's like meeting a stranger who isn't there.

    I visited the graveyard in Tombstone, AZ last year and it's a old old old one and there is nearly no safe way though the plots because the graves are nearly on top of each other. I kept apologizing and my friend thought I was so strange. I told her I didn't want the spirits of any Old West outlaws following me home for stepping on their grave.

  • Such a cool experience. I'm like you, I hate walking through cemeteries because I feel bad. I love this bench idea. Such a neat way to keep the memory of these people alive. And that first shot is so pretty.

    Thanks for sharing :)

    Sorry I'm so late on commenting. Thanks for linking up for Monday Morning Gossip!!