Brooklyn Cemetery Uprooted By Sandy
One of Brooklyn's best-known landmarks was badly-damaged by Hurricane Sandy even though it is off the coast. NY1's Jeanine Ramirez has the story.
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With sweeping views of lower Manhattan, Green-Wood Cemetery is the highest point in Brooklyn. But because of its elevation, it took a severe battering from Hurricane Sandy's fierce winds. Enormous trees were uprooted. Headstones toppled.
"Since the day after the storm we've been clearing roads, opening the roads up," said Grounds Superintendent Art Presson. "After that we've been just trying to get the cemetery cleaned up."
About 300 trees were either completely lost or badly damaged, as were at least 210 monuments.
But that number is likely to go up as debris continues to be cleared.
Helping with the effort is a group of students from Williamsburg High School for Architecture and Design.
"I was amazed with what happened," said senior Felix Vargas. All the fallen trees, everything that was knocked down. There's a lot of work to be done here."
"Mostly we're just trying to survey the damage and see how we can help," senior Marcus Gonzalez said.
The juniors and seniors have partnered with the cemetery for several years to get hands-on lessons about architecture, preservation, science, math, photography and history.
At almost 175 years old, Green-Wood is a National Historic Landmark.
Many monuments couldn't weather the storm.
"As you can see some of the tombstones have deteriorated," said senior Michael Martin. "We're studying why that happens and how we can change that so it'll happen less often and last longer."
Damages are estimated to be at least $500,000. The team is also helping to document it all.
"We have a form that the National Parks Service uses that we have to fill out for the damaged stones," architecture teacher Timothy Jones said. "Categorizing how they got damaged and which way they fell and what seems to be wrong with them and what types of stones they are. The longitude, the latitude -- basic information like that the students learn how to do in the classes they have."
Cemetery officials say they'll plant new trees where the old ones stood.
They're looking to the NY Restoration Project for help with that effort.
But replacing the trees that had once stood there -- that will take about a century.