New York, Three Feet, Washington Square Park discussed on The Box Of Oddities

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Person that you have never shared with anyone before This is fun. One time cat ruined dr coffee grinder by putting cheese in. It could make like like parmesan. I thought i could make like a shredded cheese in that way but it didn't it just broke that greiner and throw it away and our coffee tasted like feet. A long time isn't accurate. We never used it after the cheese incident which still is brought up to this day as the cheeses but this is the first time i've brought it up. I can't think of anything that i haven't told everyone about regarding. You just seems like something that i would do is just shared medium like did talk talk the other day about how you had. You didn't do something that i'd asked you to do. And i'm really sorry. I can do it for you now and i was like no. Don't worry about it. Just try to like try to pay attention to stuff so you wrote. Pay attention to stuff on the whiteboard so that you wouldn't forget you pay attention to stuff. The problem is though. I keep forgetting to check the whiteboard. Yeah boy it's just like. I will put a bag of trash. The top of the stairs for you to take down When you're leaving and you will move trash out of your way to leave quickly. we've gone from. I don't have anything to share to several items. Well i know. I've already shared those things solicit nothing new okay. Well to you quickly change the subject. I have something for you here. In the form of a story this time okay. It was a very brisk grey day in november of two thousand fifteen in new york city. The department of design and construction for the city dispatched a crew to dig out a century. Old water main near washington square park. It's amazing how many old subterranean water mains and even subway tunnels in new york. That are over one hundred years old but are still there and nobody uses him. It was about mid day when they broke into a hollow space that they were not expecting to be there. They very quickly recognized that they had stumbled upon not one but two burial vaults inside. They found an estimated thirty bodies. They quickly notified city authorities. Who determined that. The vaults belonged to a couple of different churches from the seventeen hundreds and these churches apparently shared a common graveyard burial ground and it brought it up against the city's potter's field so there were a lot of bodies buried there in those days but now thought to like take note of that. Well no the thing is. They knew they were there. Okay they they had a pretty good idea they work. They were unable to enter the tombs. So they hired a company called chrysalis archaeological consultants who used cameras to try to read the name plates on the twenty coffins that we're accessible but along with those coffins were just piles of skulls and skeletal remains simply piled up in the corner of the crypt size of skulls share. Yeah now they were shocked by this because they knew the history of the land where washington square park is currently Well it moves around is currently located see. I was confused because way that you presented this to me was like. Oh what's all the skulls piles of skulls trying to hook you into the store. Okay got they knew what was going on. Well they they had a pretty good idea that there was a chance. They we're going to run into some bodies. Okay i got it now. A shocking discovery might seem to you and to me. It wasn't entirely unexpected. This was the not the first time that bodies and human remains have been unearthed in washington square in flip in manhattan the history of the graveyard and the cemetery. The potter's field that dates back to seventeen ninety seven. New york state purchased many acres of farmland. That was farmland at the time for for this purpose. If you were poor and you lived in new york chances are when you died you ended up here if you were an identified and died in new york. You ended up here. If you were a slave you were buried there and these graves. Were not really very deep. They were pretty shallow graves. Okay and the cemetery quickly became poorly cared for and rundown. It was pretty shabby right because they were poor and black. So blair's right. Yeah that's terrible. The reason that washington square is located where there was once a cemetery. That's a great question. Yeah it was a cemetery for nearly thirty years and yellow. Fever was sweeping through new york in seventeen ninety seven seventeen ninety eight eighteen one and eighteen zero three in the city quickly became overrun with corpses and this single event was responsible for taking potter's fields population from full to well over capacity. Many bodies were just thrown into the vault. They weren't even the pile yeah. Many graves said much more than one occupant in them. Some graves like i had mentioned. Were only three feet deep and they'd been hastily dug to bury these corpses because you can't leave plague victims lying around ram. In addition to it being a potter's field it also doubled as the public gallows located right in the center of where the fountain stands today in washington square. If you go to washington square park and you sit by the fountain they killed a bunch of people there. A couple of hundred years ago never considered that. I always thought new york as being. I don't know outside of that. Realm of gallows ing. No no they were. They were gallows ish that makes end in those days. In fact one of the oldest trees in new york city is a giant elm in washington square park. This elm is rumored to have been a hangman's tree in the early days. No today known as the hangman's elm it's still a thriving in the northwestern corner of the park. They do think it's probably one of the very oldest trees in new york city. It's rumored that hundreds may have lost their lives dangling from the branches of the hangman's elm it was a particularly busy time for hangings because the revolutionary war many lives of inmates and treasonous traitors treasonous traders ended their historians estimate a minimum of twenty thousand corpses were put to rest beneath the ground of what is now washington square park. Wow so to answer your question. How did the potter's field in to church graveyards in a hangman's gallo become a place where people go and picnic not that i'm against a cemetery picnic. No we're all for that actually in eighteen twenty six. A guy named philip horne was elected. Mayor of new york city immediately began the process of turning the cemetery and the potter's field into a public park space. The idea was it would increase property values. Sure in the area. I like a nice fountain over. Piles of corpses. Yeah so it was economically driven. Not a surprise you know at the time. The major property that was nearby was new york. University and new york university at that time was greatly in debt but as soon as the park opened new york universities went from being in debt to seeing a two hundred forty percent increase in value over five years. Wow it's estimated that two thirds of washington square park today cover shallow graves of.

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