From my piece in today's Metro NY:
...Mostly marked by plaques, some of the vaults here have monuments above them. One of the largest belongs to Mangle Minthorne Quakenbos, real estate magnate with a spectacular name. But the most famous here is Preserved Fish—famous for his curious name, not for his life, which was spent in shipping and banking and outliving one wife after another.
A cemetery volunteer shared the apocryphal story behind Mr. Fish’s naming: “As a baby, while traveling by ship, he fell overboard. He washed ashore and was found by a whaling captain, who gave him the name.” Because he was like a fish preserved.
It’s a pleasure to stroll through a cemetery, a peaceful activity not often possible in Manhattan. As people wandered over the graves, long-time East Villager Helen Stratford played her accordion. She wore a black dress and black-feathered wings, the angel of death playing Andy Williams hits, like “Moon River” and the “Theme from Love Story.”
Please read the whole essay here.