Houdini’s My Homeboy (Part II)

I first became intrigued by Harry Houdini back in elementary school. My fourth grade teacher assigned everyone in the class a book report. As we searched the school library, I came across this biography of Houdini. It was written for grade school children of course, but that’s how I became interested in the magician.

Over the years I would hear about people gathering around every Halloween at Houdini’s resting place. Then around 2009, I moved to the Ridgewood area. As my luck would have it, I would be living within walking distance to Machpelah Cemetery.

As it’s been reported, Machpelah Cemetery is a rather sad place. The cemetery itself has not been properly maintained. In fact, the whole entire area is in disarray. It’s certainly an eyesore next to the other surrounding cemeteriesWhenever I’ve paid a visit over the years, I’ve seen two maintenance men at the location only once. If they were maintenance men – they didn’t seem to be doing their job.

This Jewish cemetery would have been forgotten if Houdini hadn’t been buried there. Over the years it’s gotten the occasional relief. David Copperfield, one of the best known contemporary magicians has donated $15,000 to the Society of American Magicians. Other donations came in to keep towards the upkeep. Despite this, conflicts between Machpelah’s manager, David Jacobson and the New York chapter of SAM (Society of American Magicians) occurred. In recent years, the Houdini Museum from Scanton, PA stepped in. 

Included are some photos taken by me in 2009.

Gated entrance to Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, NY. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Gated entrance to Machpelah Cemetery in Queens, NY. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Mourning statue at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Mourning statue at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

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Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Note left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Note left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Items left at Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini and family’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Where Houdini’s father is buried. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Bench near Houdini family plot. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Side of Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Side of Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other side of Harry Houdini's resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other side of Harry Houdini’s resting place at Machpelah Cemetery. Photo taken by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Other tombstones at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Bus stop at at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Don't even bother using this bus line. When I was waiting, the bus completely passed me by. You're better off taking the subway, and hiking all those blocks. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

Bus stop at at Machpelah Cemetery, where Harry Houdini is buried. Don’t even bother. When I was waiting to catch the bus going home, the bus itself completely passed me by. You’re better off taking the subway, and hiking all those blocks. Photo by Michele Witchipoo 2009.

To be continued…

 

*http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/31/harry-houdini-grave-machpelah-cemetery_n_1921103.html
*http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/24/houdini-returns-of-course/

 

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