State Route 139
(College Park, Georgia, USA)

Along a short portion of Georgia State Route 139, known to the casual motorist as Riverdale Road, one can discover the location of a small nondescript triangle of land, sealed on two sides by two separate major U.S. Interstate Highways (I-85 and I-285), and on the third side by the private grounds of one of the world's largest airports: Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport.

On this stretch of Riverdale Road, here snaking a backwards "S" course through a mainly barren zone, there can be found: the well-manicured grounds of 2 peculiarly situated, small historic cemeteries; 10 various post-modern corporate chain hotels; the route towards the official airport rental car center; and as well, a handful of mainly unmarked, vacant and abandoned, light-industrial complexes and office buildings, all dating from roughly the 1980s and 1990s.

The smaller of the two local cemeteries, a family plot of only 83 mostly unmarked graves, is known as Hart Cemetery; it can be reached via Riverdale Road, at the end of a short and nameless street. Accessibility by automobile is only possible from the north/west-bound side of Route 139. The property's tightly marked preservation-code boundaries, allocated after massive redevelopment of the area, are completely ensconced on all sides by the new massive grass embankments from the airport's 2001 runway addition and expansion. With such a hidden and desolate location, and possibly due to the fact that all relatives of the John J. Hart family (who had previously owned the land and were present in the area from the 1850s until the 1940s) have moved on, visitors to the burial site are seldom seen.

On repeat visits to the site, if one allows the time, it is possible, although somewhat challenging, to strike up the acquaintance of one local visitor/resident. The man, a bartender at one of the zone's hotels, can sometimes be seen during pleasant weather, resting in the shade found under one of the cemetery's three magnolia trees. Usually in the company of his Grundig S450DLX Deluxe AM/FM/Shortwave radio (a gift: he once made clear) and a simple tartan plaid blanket, the taciturn, yet quietly charming man, who goes by the name Richard, claims to have used the spot for several years now, as a rest-area away from his nearby workplace and accommodation at the area hotel. It was learned, after a few separate meetings, that Richard was born and raised in New York City and had spent the majority of his life as the chief bartender for a forgotten Irish pub, found hidden in plain sight, on a dead-end street in Brooklyn. During the last decade, the dead-end street had since become the main thoroughfare for an up-and-coming and popular neighborhood, highly desired by newer residents of the city. Due to its outdated business model, and in spite of its charming atmosphere, the Irish pub closed for good, as Richard describes: "a few years back there".

To the question raised as to why he ended up moving from Brooklyn to Atlanta, Richard stated that he was always a lifelong fan of Atlanta's professional baseball team, the Braves. He further noted that he decided to use all of his savings from the pub's severance package, in order to retire to Atlanta and lead a quieter lifestyle. Here he also stated that he no longer had to surreptitiously cheer for his favorite sports team, as previously, under the always watchful eyes of the pub's regular clientele, comprised solely of fans of the neighborhood's local team: the New York Mets. "In that climate one had to always be secretive, as the Atlanta Braves were usually always seen to be the evil archrivals", stated Richard, still a bit nervous, after all these years.

In further discussion about his transition to this specific corner of the Atlanta area, Richard claimed that he enjoyed the anonymity afforded by the new extreme location and its mainly transitory residents. He stated that he finds great personal peace in both the isolated cemetery grounds and the nearby-unnamed forest of sorts (found between the rental car city and the area hotels). And for the final note in the discussion: "After years of hectic New York City life, its nice to have a few quiet spots, away from the crowds, in order to sometimes have a simple picnic and listen to your team on the radio". As for the noise from the departures and arrivals of the numerous overhead jetliners: "It's no bother, really. It reminds me of my childhood home near the LaGuardia Landing Lights Park, back in Elmhurst (Queens, NYC)".


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