Death, Roses and a Bench in Prospect Park

01/04/2011 12:52 PM |


As November turned into December last year, a bench appeared in Prospect Park where there had been no bench before. It stood facing Fallkill with the Upper Pool at its back, on the woodsy path that connects the Long Meadow, at Dog Beach, to the Nethermead; the wire fence behind it had been festooned with more than three dozen pink roses. On the bench’s upper right corner, a small brass plaque read,

Sara E Campbell

Campbell was not struck here by an automobile, as the style of the memorial might have suggested. Rather, she was an ID-less jogger who collapsed in Fort Greene on the evening of July 19 last year, at the corner of Washington and Gates avenues; the body was later identified by her fiancé.

The bench is part of Prospect Park’s Commemorative Bench Program, a spokesman for the park, Eugene Patron, confirmed. Adopting an existing bench costs $2,500, but installing a new bench costs twice that. (“The location of new benches need to be discussed with the [Prospect Park] Alliance’s Development office,” Patron wrote in an e-mail, “which consults with the park’s Design & Construction and Operations offices on requested placement locations.”)

Campell’s fiancé, Louis Cuffari, did not comment on whether the spot had any special significance when reached by e-mail. When last passed, most of the pink roses that surrounded the bench had died or disappeared.

Here’s how it looked: