The Last of that World

This is one of Todd Webb’s photographs.

It was taken in the Chataham Square station area, an old tenement neighborhood in New York City in 1946 after the end of World War 2. The cemetery is one of numerous local, and often ethnic, cemeteries that were “relocated” with the passage of time as the world they came from changed and was paved over and rebuilt.

One of the reasons we lose touch with the past is that it disappears. Those last few relatives of the local families who brought flowers or visited were the last remnants of that world. When they then passed, they were buried elsewhere as there was no room. Such was much of early city life removed, and those whose history vanished with it would never have believed that their very burial plots and the graveyards that contained them would be destroyed.


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