Experience Smith is buried in a parking lot behind the Saks 5th Avenue Outlet at Woodbury Common in Central Valley, New York. Experience and several others are whiling away eternity at Ye Olde Coffey Grounds, an historic old cemetery preserved and maintained by the management of Woodbury Common.
D spotted this litte yard a couple of months ago, and a few weeks later she and I were on a bus to Woodbury Common, she going back with me not for the shopping but to lead me to this interesting little burial ground.
Cemeteries turned into parking lots are not uncommon. There are instances of this even in my immediate surroundings: The parking lot of the grocery store I frequent most often was built atop two large, old cemeteries, and none of the burials were exhumed or relocated. The Coffey Grounds at Woodbury Common are somewhat unusual not just because the yard is intact but because it is actively maintained by the owners of the commercial interests which encroach upon it. Parking spots and traffic directly abut the grounds, the hum of activity creating an uncharacteristic background sound for a cemetery visit. At the Coffey Grounds toppled stones are set straight, the grounds are taken care of, and several of the stones we saw that had fallen apart from vandalism or the elements had been re-assembled, some of them bolted back together.
The Coffey Grounds reminded me of the St. George Churchyard and Cemetery in Astoria, and the perils it seemed to face when the church decided to build an apartment building on the grounds. Some thought that the construction of the building would obliterate this small cemetery, but the church followed through on its promise to leave the yard intact. The only drawback to this seems to have been that the grounds were all but impossible to get to during some phases of the construction, but D and I have been there recently and found that public access is fully restored now that the apartment building is finished.