Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Ghosts of the Bridewell

Memorial Day will soon be here. In preparation for a tour, I strolled through Lower Manhattan and wondered about the ghosts that are waiting for their turn to enjoy a summer night. Perhaps they will rise up from the Bridewell, which was used by the British from 1776-1783 to house their American prisoners of war. Perhaps those men fared a little better than the thousands who died on the prison ships. Perhaps not. But certainly their ghosts must be yearning for a nod, a good word, a crust of bread or sip of water on a hot day.

Here is part of the footprint of the Bridewell traced in City Hall Park:

Photo by Maria A. Dering

And here is part of the footprint of the northern wall:

Photo by Maria A. Dering

I have walked by this spot hundreds of times but rarely stopped to think about the prison. It all seems to far away as I look at the green, growing park. I wonder what I'd see if I went back at sunset?