Category Archives: Ryan
New York City’s residents are full of shit. About 36,000 tons of shit to be exact. That’s the amount of waste New Yorkers send to the sewers each day. Which begs the question, where does it all go? When we flush the toilet, where are our “dumps” dumped?
Dead Jewish people are having problems in New York City. Since Judaic law only permits cremation in Reform Judaism, the rest of the Jewish deceased are forced to take refuge in cemeteries. The only problem is that Jewish cemeteries are not quite what they used to be.
Today, some of New York’s Jewish cemeteries have become mismanaged and are in a state of deterioration, leaving the bodies of many Jews, past and present, in limbo. “Judaism, in particular, puts great emphasis on the body after death. The Old Testament says Jews were born from the Earth and Jews have to go back to the Earth,” said George Bernstein, a retired Jewish historian.
Much of the problem with preserving these cemeteries can be attributed to the slow demise of Jewish burial societies. Originally started as a way to cut burial costs, Jewish burial societies bought and sold cemetery plots and also held meetings in which families could come together and socialize. Over the years, however, these societies largely disintegrated, leaving only a handful of people in charge of maintaining the plots and burial records.
And it’s not just active cemeteries that are having issues. Even the few Jewish cemeteries that have been preserved as landmarks are running into trouble. The 1654 Society was created in an effort to restore the three landmark cemeteries under Congregation Shearith Israel.
Chatham Square Cemetery, located in Chinatown is the oldest surviving Jewish cemetery in North America. Over time, the cemetery began to fall apart, tombstones disappeared, and graves were left unmarked.
Many disturbed plots were moved further uptown to when the third oldest Jewish Cemetery in Manhattan, was purchased. Located on West 21st street between 6th and 7th avenue, this cemetery fell victim to an unfortunate construction accident, in 2006, in which the scaffolding fell off from a site of luxury condos, leaving tombstones in shambles. Three years later, the cemetery still appears to be in dire straits.
“These are centuries-old Jewish cemeteries we’re talking about here, whose tombstones bear extraordinary importance to our religion and our culture,” Sean Glass, a student at NYU who lives in the area, said of the cemetery. He said he was disappointed to see the cemetery’s tombstones “just laying there like left-over’s.”
To the living, the remains of loved ones bears heavy sentimental attachment. “I could never separate from my mother or she from me,” said Holocaust Survivor, Clara Duetsch.
Unless Jewish cemeteries get their act together, the dead are going to have a hard time finding a place to live when they die.
“Eating Designer” Marjie Vogelzang’s latest installation, Pasta Sauna, in which the steam generated while cooking pasta is used to create an actual sauna. You take a plate of uncooked pasta to the “sauna” and hand it off to the cooks who unroll the pasta shells into a large pot of boiling water. After two minutes, the pasta is cooked and fit for consumption. Free lunch! Ends tomorrow.
In the spirit of Halloween, I thought it would be nice to go to a funeral. Not just any funeral, mind you, but a fake funeral. Luckily, I found one! The Merchant’s House Museum in NoHo offers a funeral recreation entitled, “From Parlor to Grave”, in which people can participate in a 19th century-style funeral and receive a tour of the neighboring Marble Cemetery. 50% morbid, 50% informative, 100% fun!
When people think of filmmaking, they often think of Los Angeles. Sound stages are littered all across the city, filming some of the hottest television shows and films. In many respects, Los Angeles symbolizes show business. But the times have changed. Thanks to the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre, and Broadcasting, filming in New York City has, for the time being, become easier. With the implementation of tax-incentive programs like “Made In NY”, major TV productions like “Ugly Betty” and “Gossip Girl” have shunned Los Angeles in favor of the Big Apple.