Bayside Cemetery (Queens)

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Bayside Cemetery
Bayside Cemetery (Queens) is located in New York City
Bayside Cemetery (Queens)
Shown within New York City
Bayside Cemetery (Queens) is located in New York
Bayside Cemetery (Queens)
Bayside Cemetery (Queens) (New York)
80-35 Pitkin Avenue, Ozone Park, Queens, New York City
Coordinates40°40′42″N 73°51′21″W / 40.6782895°N 73.8558736°W / 40.6782895; -73.8558736
Owned byCongregation Shaare Zedek
Size12 acres (49,000 m2)[1][2]
No. of graves35,000[1][2]
Find a GraveBayside Cemetery
The Political GraveyardBayside Cemetery
A gateway in Acacia Cemetery erected by a synagogue located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn

Bayside Cemetery is a Jewish cemetery located at 80-35 Pitkin Avenue in Ozone Park, Queens, New York. It covers about 12 acres, and has had about 35,000 burials.[1] It is bordered on the east by Acacia Cemetery, on the north by Liberty Avenue, on the west by Mokom Sholom Cemetery, and on the south by Pitkin Avenue.

Bayside was established by Congregation Shaare Zedek when the latter was an Orthodox Jewish synagogue on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Shaare Zedek still owns Bayside Cemetery and is currently a Conservative synagogue located on the Upper West Side, about ten miles away. The cemetery is reachable via public transportation by taking the IND Fulton Street Line A train to either the 80th Street station and walking west on Liberty Avenue around Mokom Sholom Cemetery to Pitkin Avenue, or to the 88th Street station and walking east on Liberty Avenue around Acacia Cemetery to Pitkin Avenue.


Bayside was founded in 1865, making it one of the oldest Jewish cemeteries in New York City that is still active. Among those buried there are military veterans from the Civil War and a victim of the sinking of the Titanic – George Rosenshine.[3]


Starting around the middle of the 20th century and extending over several decades, Bayside Cemetery fell into extensive disrepair, through both numerous episodes of vandalism[2][4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14] and steady neglect.[15] During a portion of this time, by the 1980s, its owner Shaare Zedek was "essentially defunct," with no rabbi and irregular services.[15]

A volunteer cleanup was organized in 2003,[16] but it lasted only four days, and did not result in the sustained effort that was needed to cut and substantially remove the decades of overgrowth of trees, bushes, vines, and other vegetation. Shaare Zedek did not participate.[1]

A lawsuit was initiated in 2007 attempting to force Shaare Zedek to assume responsibility for the poor condition of Bayside, and claimed that Shaare Zedek used funds that were given for perpetual care of graves at Bayside for other purposes, such repairing the roof of the synagogue.[17][18] In a newspaper interview, a lawyer for Shaare Zedek claimed that the synagogue was not responsible for maintaining the cemetery and that it did not own 90% of it.[1] The lawsuit was dismissed for lack of standing in 2017.[19]


During the past several years, CAJAC, The Community Association for Jewish At-Risk Cemeteries, coordinated a major project to restore and maintain Bayside Cemetery. CAJAC was established as a non-profit organization to rescue and maintain Jewish cemeteries, and hired MC Landscaping to perform the major cleanup at Bayside. Volunteers have complemented the professional efforts.[2] The initial cleanup was set to be completed by November 2009, but took substantially longer than expected and was finished in 2012.[20] Since then, Anthony Pisciotta has volunteered his equipment, time, and skills to repair and seal many of the damaged mausoleums and reset many of the downed grave markers.[21][22]

In 2017, Shaare Zedek entered into a real estate deal to sell its synagogue building to a developer with a plan to build condominiums and a smaller synagogue on the site,[23] and use some of the money toward restoration and upkeep of the cemetery, but as of June 2018, the cemetery has not seen any participation by the synagogue, with no allocation of money or hiring of anybody to do any of the cleanup work.[22] Shaare Zedek has even prevented Pisciotta from doing his own further cleanup work at the cemetery, for unclear reasons.[24]

Notable burials[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e Wilner, Anne (August 15, 2008). "Weeds Among the Graves, and Dismay Among the Survivors". The New York Times. p. CY6. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  2. ^ a b c d Shapiro, Sorah (October 11, 2003). "Reclaiming Bayside Cemetery - In the 1865 Jewish graveyard, a diverse group of volunteers fights the insults of man and nature". New York Newsday. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  3. ^
  4. ^ "Vandals In Cemeteries - Damages Estimated at $40,000 in Ozone Park". The New York Times. February 19, 1951. p. 25. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  5. ^ "Vandalism Is on the Increase in City's Cemeteries". The New York Times. December 18, 1973. p. 45. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  6. ^ Spiegel, Irving (August 27, 1976). "Suspect, 19, Arrested in Thefts Of Bronze Doors From Cemetery". The New York Times. p. B2. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  7. ^ "Vandals Again Desecrate Jewish Cemetery". The New York Times. June 4, 1977. p. 23. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Vandals Topple 50 Headstones in Queens Cemetery". The New York Times. April 5, 1994. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  9. ^ "Vandals Again Hit A Jewish Cemetery". The New York Times. April 14, 1994. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  10. ^ LeDuff, Charliie (November 24, 1996). "3 Cemeteries Are Haunted By Vandals". The New York Times. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  11. ^ Onishi, Norimitsu (June 9, 1997). "A Cemetery In Queens Hit By Vandals". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  12. ^ Haberman, Clyde (June 13, 1997). "An Affront To the Dead, And the Living". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  13. ^ Weir, Richard (March 1, 1998). "Neighborhood Report: South Ozone Park - Mausoleum Vandalism Hits Old Jewish Cemetery Again". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  14. ^ Weiner, Julie (January 16, 2003). "Vandals Strike Queens Cemetery". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  15. ^ a b Wiener, Julie (October 17, 2002). "The Cemetery Nobody Wants". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  16. ^ O'Grady, Jim (June 8, 2003). "Neighborhood Report: Ozone Park; For a Cleanup at a Jewish Cemetery, Thanks, Amid an Old Worry". The New York Times. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
  17. ^ "Litigation Against Congregation Shaare Zedek" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-07-07.
  18. ^ "Bayside Cemetery Litigation". Archived from the original on 2012-09-02.
  19. ^ "Lucker v Bayside Cemetery". Justicia – U.S. Law. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  20. ^ Weiner, Julie (July 2, 2012). "Bayside Cemetery Spruced Up, But Many Questions Linger". The Jewish Week. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  21. ^ "A Cemetery's Righteous Gentile". The Jewish Week. July 2, 2012. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  22. ^ a b Feldman, Ari (June 10, 2018). "Can A Catholic Guy Save This 'Hellhole' Jewish Cemetery — (And Why Hasn't Its Own Synagogue)?". Forward. Retrieved 11 June 2018.
  23. ^ Brenzel, Kathryn (July 6, 2017). "Ornstein Leyton moves forward with redevelopment of historic UWS synagogue". The Real Deal – New York Real Estate News. Retrieved June 11, 2018.
  24. ^ Feldman, Ari (July 23, 2018). "Why Was A 'Righteous Gentile' Turned Away From The Cemetery He's Trying To Save?". The Jewish Forward. Retrieved 8 October 2018.
  25. ^ Feldman, Ari (July 23, 2018). "Why Was A 'Righteous Gentile' Turned Away From The Cemetery He's Trying To Save?". The Forward. Retrieved 25 July 2018.
  26. ^ "42 of The Titanic's Victims Identified – Total Number of Bodies Recovered Near Scene of Disaster Reaches Seventy-seven – Relatives Off for Halifax – Brother of George D. Widener Among Those Who Start to Nova Scotia – Errors in the Lists". New York Times. April 24, 1912. p. 1. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  27. ^ "Rosenshine Left $161,033 – Brother and Partner of Titanic Victim Residuary Legatee". New York Times. May 11, 1913. p. 15. Retrieved 7 January 2019.
  28. ^ "George Rosenshine". Find A Grave. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  29. ^ Stone, Kurt F. (2010-12-29). The Jews of Capitol Hill: A Compendium of Jewish Congressional Members. Lanham, Maryland: Scarecrow Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-8108-5731-5. Retrieved 7 January 2016.
  30. ^ "Harry Wolff - Known in the Theatre Business as Harry Lorraine, Booking Agent". The New York Times. August 22, 1934. p. 17. Retrieved 10 January 2016.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°40′39″N 73°51′18″W / 40.67750°N 73.85500°W / 40.67750; -73.85500