Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trinity Church: An Historic Legacy Of Very, Very Dead People


On Friday, I had a biz meeting at 50 Broadway, just a block from New York's historic Trinity Church. How could I resist checking out the folks that have been buried there for 200 years? In the center of the Wall Street district, Trinity was founded in 1697, at what was then a pastoral riverfront locale where oysters were harvested and cows roamed nearby pastures.

Funny, because today it's fat-cat overpaid billionaire tycoon jackasses wandering the neighborhood... But I digress. By the 1820s, Lower Manhattan was getting a might crowded, and a shortage of land below Canal Street led the city to sell "water lots," which were filled in and built upon. Thus, Trinity was suddenly no longer along the water.

As the city expanded northward and immigration escalated, the area was victimized by murders, suicides, robberies, brawls, streetcar assaults and kidnappings. Then, by 1936, business overtook the neighborhood and with construction of the Battery Tunnel in 1946 and the World Trade Center in 1966, its history as a residential nabe was a total wash.

Today, however, adjacent Battery Park City, built on dirt excavated from the WTC, has brought back residents, blending the business capital of the world with a collection of swanky highrises.

Among those buried in the adjoining Trinity Church Cemetery are the nation's first treasurer, Alexander Hamilton, who's on the $10 bill; Astor family founder John Jacob Astor; Robert Fulton of ferry fame; and a lot of other renowned dead people. All dead. Very, very dead.