The Old World, the New World, and the World to Come: Interpreting Bayside Cemetery

Esther Suzanne Mittelman

The Old World, the New World, and the World to Come: Interpreting Bayside Cemetery
Mittelman, Esther Suzanne
Thesis Advisor(s):
Williams, Jessica Lee
Master's theses
Historic Preservation
Permanent URL:
M.S., Columbia University.
Over the past several decades, Bayside Cemetery, in Ozone Park, Queens, has suffered from grievous mistreatment, vandalism, and neglect. Attempts at restoration have largely fallen flat, resulting in cycles of "clean-up" and deterioration. As a Jewish cemetery serving a very particular historic constituency that is no longer viable, Bayside has had trouble maintaining the kind of public relevance that engenders a successful preservation. Nevertheless, Bayside is emblematic of a specific, often underrepresented moment in American Jewish history: the unprecedented, large-scale mid-19th century emigration of worldly "German" Jews to the United States, and their enduring cultural influence on subsequent generations of their co-religionists in the New World. As such, the site deserves to be saved. This thesis seeks to make the case for interpreting Bayside as a means toward preservation. To that end, it establishes the significance of Bayside Cemetery through an exploration of its physical fabric, locates the Jewish cemetery within the canon of American cemetery interpretation, and proposes a plan for the interpretation of the site for the public.
Judaic studies
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