News

Hart Island, the nation’s largest public cemetery, was created for the destitute but now serves a surprising range of people

By

NEW YORK — Valerie Griffith’s final journey began on a battered ferry, a floating hearse bound for a most unusual island.

Nobody lives on Hart Island, a scruffy one-mile slice of land in Long Island Sound that New York’s tabloids call “Forgotten Island,” “Haunted Island” and “Isle of Tears.”

For 150 years, it’s been known as the place where the city buries its penniless — not art collectors like Griffith

Read more…
The New School Photographic Collection

Inside the push to open up Hart Island, NYC's COVID cemetery

By

Two years since burials of COVID victims began, an effort is underway to transform the island into an open public cemetery. So far, it has remained largely closed off to the public, and difficult to visit even for bereaved families.

Read more…
©2022 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

Hart Island Burials Taken Over By Tree Landscapers, Uprooting Families’ Hopes for Transformation

By

The city has tapped a landscaping company with no experience running cemeteries or public spaces to help transform Hart Island, the long-neglected gravesite of thousands killed by COVID, into a refuge for families and other visitors.

The management contract has both the leaders of some of New York’s largest graveyards and families of those interred on Hart Island concerned over the fate of the City Council’s $85 million vision to turn the potter’s field into the nation’s largest municipal cemetery.

Meanwhile, the city Parks Department plans to keep a former Rikers Island captain who supervised inmates carrying out emergency burials of pandemic victims in charge of interments. 

Read more…

Family Finds Missing Loved One Buried On Hart Island

By

After decades of searching, relatives of missing loved ones finally find closure on Hart Island. The city parks department has eased visitation restrictions. On Saturday, Valerie Smith's family was able to commemorate their visit to her gravesite with a cell phone video on location.

Read more…
Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

The Biggest Public Graveyard in the U.S. Is Becoming Park

By

New York City wants Hart Island, the burial grounds for victims of Covid-19 and AIDS, to be a more accessible and inviting place.

It's been the city’s dominant public graveyard since the 19th century. People were buried there during other epidemics including AIDS and the Great Influenza outbreak of 1918. For most of that time, Hart Island has been run much like a jail by the Department of Correction. Save for scheduled and highly-regulated visits, it's been inaccessible to the public. Most labor on the island was done by Rikers’ Island inmates paid a fraction of minimum wage.

But times are changing. This month the Parks Department took over the island, two years after the city council granted it control. Making it a more accessible and inviting space will be a challenge given the island’s deteriorating  buildings, ongoing burials and the need to establish a regular ferry service to the island. 

Read more…
Brody Ford/Bloomberg City Lab
load more

Events

There are no upcoming events

Past events

Global Pandemic Touchstone Walk on City Island

At

On Sunday, October 16th at 2:00 pm EDT, the Hart Island Touchstone Coalition (HITC) will stage the first in a proposed series of bereavement walks to honor the memory of those who have succumbed to the scourge of pandemic illnesses.

The HITC community will pull a hand-drawn carriage containing a granite Global Pandemics Touchstone donated to the Coalition by the nonprofit Peace Abbey Foundation on a course from Pelham Cemetery on King Avenue at City Island to the entrance of the Ferry Dock overlooking Hart Island Cemetery. The quarter-mile bereavement walk with the Touchstone, will bring together families and friends who have loved ones buried on Hart Island and who are seeking to have the Touchstone placed there in their loved one's honor. 

See pdf announcement

HDC Six to Celebrate - Bronx Conversation with Past Awardees

At

The Historic Districts Council (HDC) invites you to an in-person event to discuss how to assist Bronx neighborhoods advance their preservation goal. If you are interested in learning about the preservation-related priorities of different communities, come hear from previous participants about their experiences with this program, their achievements, and their current priorities in terms of preserving the historic treasures of their neighborhood. The conversation will be led and moderated by Angel Hernandez and Samuel Brooks, co-chairs of HDC’s Bronx Borough Landmarks Committee. Thursday, October 13, 2022 – 7:00PM


Read more…
Hart Island Historic Guide

The Hart Island Project Annual Meeting

At

Please join us for a progress report on our mission to open access to Hart Island and assist families and friends of the buried.

We're converting our website to mobile first and adding new navigation and location based storytelling tools.

We need your ideas for how to preserve Hart Island as a National Historic Site and National Monument

Join Here on Zoom


©2022 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

Bronx Parks Speak-up

At

Please join The Hart Island Project to learn about our work to restore Hart Island as America's largest natural burial ground and its essential place in New York City's Green Infastructure

REGISTER HERE

See pdf announcement

On Hart Island: Past, Present and Future - On Zoom & In Person

At

The Roosevelt Island Library and the Roosevelt Island Historical Society are proud to host Melinda Hunt and her presentation on Hart Island. Melinda Hunt is President and founding director of The Hart Island Project in New York City. Her work led to ending 150 years of penal control on Hart Island. She is a NYFA/NYSCA Fellow in electronic art. She is a visual artist who works in a variety of fields and settings.

REGISTER


Read more…
Alon Sicherman & Sean Vegezzi/The Hart Island Project
load all past events
The Hart Island Project © 2022
Website by Studio Airport