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Prospect Cemetery

Battlefields & Cemeteries

Prospect Cemetery
Jamaica, Queens, New York

The Prospect Cemetery Association, Jamaica, Queens, New York is a local burying ground that has been in active use since Colonial times. The earliest interments date to the 1660s, and active use continues today. The project is a part of the New York Landmark Conservancy's Sacred Places initiative in collaboration with concerned local citizens and community volunteers. Over recent decades of deferred maintenance unchecked vegetative growth has covered burial plots and headstones in the Cemetery. Volunteer trees have grown up around stones and dislodged them. Vandalism of gravestones and deterioration from weathering are also evident.

The landscape preservation operations stabilize, control and remove volunteer growth and begin the rehabilitation of the cemetery landscape. Broken and fallen headstones are cataloged, mapped and temporarily stored to safeguard them while the landscape is brought to a maintainable condition. These stones would otherwise impede maintenance operations and continue to be damaged. The exact location of these markers is documented, and as stone conservation proceeds they can be returned to the original location and reset. A stone repair effort by conservators has progressed a s a second phase effort.

Landscape recapture work also includes hazardous tree removal and preventative tree care, invasive vegetation removal, fine grading of surface without subsurface disturbance, and lawn seeding with hardy grasses which will require minimal regular maintenance. This phase of the work will also institute a pilot plot as an example of vegetation management around gravestones.

As an unusually large, green, tranquil space in a densely urban area, the rehabilitation of Prospect Cemetery is also an important element in the revitalization of the surrounding community, in keeping with the historic use of cemetery grounds as places for relaxation and refreshment.

Client:
New York Landmarks Conservancy, Prospect Cemetery Alliance, and US Forest Service

Project:
Project Manual for the Prospect Cemetery Rehabilitation, work scope, project bid documents, bidding and contractor oversight

Project Credits:
Heritage Landscapes, Preservation Landscape Architects & Planners