Thursday, September 02, 2010

Mae West: Cypress Hills

The final resting place of MAE WEST and her immediate family is Cypress Hills Cemetery, an expanse of 209 green acres with sweeping views of Jamaica Bay and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
• • A new book will give you an armchair tour of this noteworthy site that straddles two New York City boroughs. Fans often wonder: What is Mae doing in Queens County instead of reposing in her beloved Kings County? Cypress Hills Cemetery’s main entrance is within Brooklyn's borders, therefore, its post office address is in Brooklyn at 833 Jamaica Avenue. However, most of the cemetery proper is situated in adjoining Glendale in Queens — — where several of Mae's friends and one former boyfriend attended school — — and so that borough proudly claims it.
• • In addition to Mae West, other notables whose remains rest in Cypress Hills include the black musician Eubie Blake (who had worked with Mae) and Major League baseball sensation Jackie Robinson.
• • Learn more by reading Cypress Hills Cemetery by Stephen C. Duer and Allan B. Smith [Arcadia Publishing], a title just released in September 2010.
• • In September we remember . . . • •
• • Speaking about those who are no longer with us summons these names to mind on September 2nd.
• • Born in Westchester County (Harrison, New York) and educated at New York University, Harrison Grey Fiske [30 July 1861 — 2 September 1942] was an American theatrical manager and journalist. Fiske served as an editorial writer and dramatic critic for a number of publications such as the Jersey City-based Argus and The New York Star. In 1879 he became a contributor to the New York Dramatic Mirror, and by 1883 the proprietor.
• • The influence the Dramatic Mirror wielded was no small matter. They praised Mae's performance as part of the Broadway line-up they reviewed — — and her vamp portrait even made the front cover on 25 December 1919, thanks to some pressure exerted by Ned Wayburn who featured the 26-year-old brunette in his "Demitasse Revue" at the Capitol Theatre in New York City.
• • Born in Pennsylvania, Ned Wayburn [30 March 1874 — 2 September 1942] was a choreographer. His advertising campaigns pictured some of his most successful dance students — — and though Mae was not shown on those, Ned taught her to dance and cast her in shows, adding heft to her resume and stage career.

• • Come up and see Mae every day online:
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