*Originally posted this material on my Facebook account. Photos and commentary are dated from 2009 when I first moved into the Ridgewood area.
**Previous blog post dated 2010: https://witchesbrewpress.wordpress.com/2010/03/29/mapped-magic-from-the-grave/
Ever since doing book report on him during elementary school, I’ve been slightly fascinated by magician Harry Houdini. Houdini and the rest of his immediate family are buried in Machpelah Cemetery, located in Ridgewood, Queens (although it’s really closer to Glendale).
I found the address recently on the Find A Grave website:
8230 Cypress Hills Street
There is a supposedly a telephone listed with the address, but don’t bother calling it. As you can tell by the photos, the office hasn’t been in use for quite some time.
As I was leaving Machpelah Cemetery, I noticed a sign screwed into one of the nailed up doors. The sign states that the Houdini site is solely cared for The New York chapter of the Society of American Magicians. The sign’s statement ends with a quote “We never pay the bill.”
When I got home I did some research to discover the entire exact quote.
“Turns out, someone does come and shape up the grave once in a while. The New York chapter of the Society of American Magicians has a Houdini Gravesite Committee, and a Brooklyn man named George Schindler is the committee chairman. He said that the bust of Houdini that once adorned the grave site was often vandalized and is now kept in storage by the committee, whose members bring landscaping tools to the cemetery and tidy up the grave site several times a year.
“Houdini paid for perpetual care, but there’s nobody at the cemetery to provide it,” he said, adding that the operator of the cemetery, David Jacobson, “sends us a bill for upkeep every year but we never pay it because he never provides any care.”
Link to the entire quote and article: http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/10/31/houdinis-final-trick-a-tidy-grave/
Machpelah Cemetery is right next door to other Queens cemeteries, all which are way better maintained that the one Houdini is buried in. However, despise Machpelah’s negligence, the final resting place for Harry Houdini still hold much more mystery.