Putting a whole new spin to the phrase “dancing on someone’s grave,” Woodlawn Cemetery hosted Lincoln Center’s Silent Disco event Sunday evening
More than 200 partygoers grooved in the graveyard for the ulimate event celebrating Bronx Salsa Month.
“What better place to have a silent disco at than the final resting place of musical luminaries,” said Olga Luz Tirado,executive director of The Bronx Tourism Council. “Celia Cruz is interred here, Miles Davis is interred here, Duke Ellington. Woodlawn is really a go to place for a lot of Bronx sites, just to come here and walk around and be at peace.”
The event had three DJs playing music into the headphones participants got to wear on the dance floor. Guests then had the option of switching channels from one musical genre to another while taking in the surrounding sites in the 400-acre cemetery.
This is the first year Lincoln Center took the events to all five boroughs after trying it out in Queens in 2014. Before that they had hosted the events in Manhattan as part of Midsummer Night’s Swing.
“People like to experience Lincoln Center in their backyards and it was so much fun last year,” said Jill Sternheimer, director of public programming at Lincoln Center. “There were over 1,000 people that cycled through [in Queens] last year.”
For Woodlawn the event meant an opportunity for people from all over New York City to visit a historic landmark that has been around for 150 years, maybe even go back and enjoy a tour by one of their historians.
Although the family-friendly event was brought to Woodlawn as an ode to those greatly admired and departed musicians, some people had their reservations and felt that going to a cemetery to dance was disrespectful
“The different reactions that we got from some people since it’s in a cemetery was that’s so disrespectful,” said Tirado. “But some people were saying ‘how cool’ and others said ‘of course it’s going to be Woodlawn’ since they know Woodlawn, they do all sorts of events here.”
Yet those on the dance floor enjoyed a night of loud music in their ears and silent dancing, like the Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. who joined a crowd of young adults as they raised their hands in the air.
“”I like it,” said Lissette Reynoso, 47, who resides in the Bronx. “It’s a different venue, a little bit eerie, but it’s different.”
The last Silent Disco event will be on Sept. 3 at Hunters Point South Park in Long Island City, Queens from 6 to 8 p.m.