Greenwood Heights

Photos: Green-Wood Cemetery as a momentary winter wonderland

February 13, 2017 By Lore Croghan Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Welcome to Green-Wood Cemetery. Step inside these gates and see a winter wonderland that came and went in the blink of an eye. Eagle photos by Lore Croghan

Here’s Green-Wood Cemetery transformed into a momentary winter wonderland.

Step through the famous graveyard’s landmarked gate for a photographic tour of ethereal monuments, stately mausoleums and clusters of tombstones on snow-blanketed hills.

Sunshine lights up cerulean skies and gleams on the sugar-white snow left behind by Winter Storm Niko late last week.

Snowdrifts have buried the side of Battle Hill where the Civil War Soldiers’ Monument stands.

But on the part of the hill where an iconic bronze statue of Minerva stands, there’s a ring of green grass. It looks like a force field emanating from the statue kept the snow away from her.

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Storm winds must have blown really hard on that hilltop, which is the highest natural point in the borough of Brooklyn.

Minerva is positioned so she faces the Statue of Liberty down in New York Harbor. The hand Minerva raises in salute to Lady Liberty lines up with the torch of freedom held by the queen of the harbor.

Civic Virtue and a landmarked chapel

Another statue for which the snow serves as the perfect setting is Civic Virtue — a way, way larger-than-life 1920s design by noted sculptor Frederick MacMonnies. Green-Wood recently restored the statue, whose white marble glows amid the snowy scenery.

In 2012, the city loaned the statue long-term to Green-Wood — because some Queens politicians and residents didn’t want it in their borough anymore. Then-U.S. Rep. Anthony Weiner, who hadn’t yet disgraced himself with his sexting, said the city should sell the statue on Craigslist.  

The statue is a naked man (he represents Civic Virtue) with two women (they represent graft and corruption) vanquished at his feet.

Haters say it’s misogynistic. Supporters say it’s allegorical.

Other eye-catchers in the snow include the cemetery’s landmarked Gothic chapel designed by Grand Central Terminal architects Warren & Wetmore.

Green-Wood, which was founded in 1838, serves as the final resting place for generation upon generation of Brooklyn families and a roster of the rich and famous including Boss Tweed and Basquiat.

Snow can be a short-lived phenomenon on the Eastern Seaboard in this day and age. When it shows up and adds an extra dose of magic to scenic Brooklyn sites, attention must be paid.

The window of opportunity was narrow for snow-seeking shutterbugs at Green-Wood.

The 478-acre cemetery was closed due to hazardous conditions during snow cleanup on Thursday, when Winter Storm Niko hit, and on Friday morning as well.

Prime time for snow pix was Friday afternoon, when the sun lit the place up like a movie set.

Above-freezing temperatures on Saturday opened up patches of grass in the snow. There were clouds overhead for much of the day.

On Sunday, it rained and rained. More of the snow melted. The scenic views took on a poignancy that the sunshine had partly held in check.

 

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