Letter: For a lower wall

The News is to be congratulated for its editorial regarding the high stone wall of the Grove Street Cemetery along Prospect Street (“Tear down this wall,” Oct. 14). The plan developed by Robert A.M. Stern ARC ’65, the dean of the School of Architecture and architect of the new residential colleges, which proposed inserting seven short sections of iron fencing in the wall along Prospect Street was indeed flawed and much too timid. It would have left 95 percent of the wall intact and would have done little to improve the bleak and barren cityscape that now exists in that block.

The News is right; what is needed is a bolder plan — one that, while respecting the need to separate the cemetery from the city that surrounds it, makes it at least visually accessible to passers-by. One way to do that would be to replace what’s there now with a low stone wall topped by several feet of wrought-iron fencing along the entire block. The preservationists and plot-holders who rejected Stern’s proposal would no doubt reject this one as well. Before doing so, however, they might walk along Grove Street between Prospect and York streets and observe how much more attractive the cemetery wall in that block — a low stone wall topped with wrought-iron fencing — is than the one that runs along Prospect Street.

David Cameron

Oct. 14

The writer is a professor of political science.


  • dk

    Our good professor might benefit from a walk inside the cemetery along Grove St to notice how much noisier it is there, and how unattractive the fence is owing to the difficulty of maintaining a good paint job.

    There are many views to this, but the cemetery’s proprietors owe as much to neighbors and passers-by as does anyone with a front yard.

    The outside world owes them the peacefulness that any cemetery or private resident or classroom requires. What Professor Cameron calls a ‘bleak and barren cityscape’ owes at least as much to Becton, Malone and SSS, to the trash along Grove behind Commons and the Law School, and to the heavy traffic on Prospect and Grove. At least the cemetery offers us all a welcome to its peaceful enclosure during most hours of the day.

    Let us have a proposal with contributions from all sides of this problem: the cemetery, the university and the city. Let the city bury Grove St in a tunnel, push Prospect St traffic onto Whitney, and widen Prospect for pedestrians, cyclists and plantings both along the cemetery and along the inhospitable frontages of Becton, Malone and SSS. Yale can dig out those stones on the sidewalk in front of Malone for gardens and seating, clean up the shabby wind tunnel in front of Becton, and connect the courtyard behind Becton to both Prospect and Hillhouse. Yale could keep its dining hall trash in better shape instead of letting it spill all over the Grove St sidewalks. Then we might be in a better position to get along with the cemetery’s proprietors.

    As things stand, any proposal to open the walls to pedestrians is equally a proposal to push Yale and City pollution inside.