Monday, April 16, 2012
Jamaica: Prospect Cemetery & Rufus King Manor
Back in cemetery mode. My weekday subway ride takes me to Sutphin Boulevard, & every so often I spend my lunch break down around Jamaica Ave. I don't know Jamaica well though, so when I saw that Kevin Walsh had a Forgotten New York walk there scheduled for April, I signed up. This one, number 51 in the series, was to the Prospect Cemetery, and to Rufus King Manor. The cemetery, which dates back to the 1600s and is home to a number of Revolutionary War soldiers, fell victim over the years to neglect & vandalism, but is now undergoing restoration. Cate Ludlam, president of the cemetery association, and the woman who pioneered its rescue, was on hand to give us a tour. Rufus King, a Founding Father & an early abolitionist, moved to Jamaica in 1805, and descendants of the King family lived at the house for almost a hundred years. It became a museum in 1900, and its current caretaker, the ebullient Roy Fox, helped by an educator docent, showed us around. Kevin's tour was co-led by the Greater Astoria Historical Society's Rich Melnick. They did a great job. I also have to put in a big thank you for the invitation I got after the tour, to join a group of local historians at O Lavrador, a Portugese restaurant over on 101st Ave. What a great dinner - octopus, cod cakes & flamed pork sausage - and great Queens company. I also learned of a blog I have to check out: Be the BQE. Thanks, guys!