The concert violinist Misha Keylin nipped round to his nearest cemetery after reading our report on the restoration of the tomb of America’s first pianist. Pausing only to take a few pics of the reinstalled Louis Moreau Gottschalk monument,
Misha moved on to pay respects to Leonard Bernstein, who lies in the same Green-Wood grounds.
The Jewish tradition is for graves to be plain and unadorned. That custom has been observed here to the letter. But someone felt the need to add a flag, which disturbs the harmony of the space and the universality of the life beyond. Bernstein had a complicated relationship with his country.
At one point, his passport was confiscated by Washington because of his supposed left-wing views. Would he want that part of his complex identity to be proclaimed at his grave, to the exclusion of all others? Can someone please tell me what the flag’s doing there?
And while we’re on the subject, if Bernstein gets a flag, why not Gottschalk? He was a fierce supporter of the Union during the Civil War.