Friday, May 25, 2007

Haunting Pittsburgh's Dead

A rather odd and morbid subject for this blog, but I couldn't resist writing about a New York Times article concerning new markets for old cemeteries. Besides, life's end and the diaspora are grounds I've already tread. The NYT must be researching the death economy. The cemetery crisis is as follows:

As Americans choose cremation in record numbers, Victorian cemeteries like Laurel Hill and Green-Wood in Brooklyn are repositioning themselves for the afterlife: their own. Repositories of architectural and sculptural treasures, like Tiffany windows and weeping marble maidens atop tombs, the cemeteries face dwindling endowments, years of vandalism and neglect, shrinking space for new arrivals and a society that, until recently, collectively distanced itself from their meandering byways.

I don't know if Pittsburgh is experiencing a squeeze on cememtery plots or if there is a similar problem to that of these historical gems in Brooklyn. But I'm attracted to the idea of Pittsburgh cemeteries as popular public places (e.g. Allegheny Cemetery) and that the Burgh Diaspora might desire to rest for eternity among the Three Rivers.

Would a cemetery dedicated to the successful and famous among the Burgh Diaspora sell? As where we live and what constitutes home continue to become increasingly dislocated, I could imagine some room for opportunity.

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