Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Tuesday, October 12, 2021

It’s not every day that your neighborhood cemetery* yields something other than tombstones — in this case, a long-abandoned stash of munitions.

Officers cordoned off Second Street between First and Second Avenues on Monday, and Bomb Squad officers dug up areas near where the explosives were first discovered, but as of Monday evening no other suspicious packages had been found. [NYC Police Commissioner Raymond] Kelly said the package contained eight sticks of C-4 [each] weighing about one and a quarter pounds. He said the material was not commonly available.

“It could have been taken from a military installation, perhaps years ago,” he said. “We don’t know how old it is.”

Mr. Kelly said that based on the condition of the bag, the package might have been in the cemetery for several years.

Based on the neighborhood’s rough history, it seems pretty clear where this came from:

The cemetery abuts some brownstones and is about 100 feet from the notorious E 3rd Street clubhouse of the Hell’s Angels motorcyle gang.

According to “Hell’s Angels: Three Can Keep a Secret if Two are Dead” by Yves Lavigne, the biker gang stockpiled C-4 in the 1980s.

Mystery solved, as far as I’m concerned. Some bikers hid their stockpile there ages ago, then either forgot about it or otherwise got separated from it (untimely deaths?), and this undelivered payload sat there, untouched until now. Makes you wonder what else is hidden away in some of the City’s older nooks and crannies.

As for the cemetery itself, what stands out for me it that it never, ever, gets shoveled during winter. Many’s the time I’ve walked down 2nd Street, and had to practically skate down the long expanse of sidewalk along its gates. (The pavement on either side of it are always cleared of ice and snow, so this really stands out — I don’t know how this landmark gets away with it.) I’ve even slipped and taken a tumble on occasion — and I never fall, so that tells you how treacherous this stretch of the LES is. Hopefully, the next time I land on my butt, the impact won’t trigger the explosion of even more yet-to-be-discovered pyrotechnics…

*In fact, there are two neighborhood cemeteries on this same street. And to add to the redundancy, they have almost identical names: New York City Marble Cemetery and New York Marble Cemetery. The bomb-making material was found in the former site.

by Costa Tsiokos, Tue 10/12/2021 11:15pm
Category: History, New Yorkin', True Crime
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