News

New York City COVID-19 Death Toll

As #Covid19 victims are laid to rest in NYC's public cemetery — the largest mass grave in the U.S. — the Hart Island Project aims to support their families and increase awareness of the island's history

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NYC’s potter’s field has buried nearly 900 people during coronavirus outbreak

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New York’s potter’s field became an unlikely savior during the coronavirus crisis — more than quintupling its usual pace of burials during the height of the pandemic, new stats show.

With funeral homes and morgues overflowing with corpses as the disease ravaged the city, Hart Island took 894 bodies between March 9 and Friday.

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'New York City’s family tomb’: The sad history of Hart Island

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Coronavirus has created a grim new reality at the nation’s largest mass grave. 

Only 11 miles from Manhattan, Hart Island has been the final resting place for New York’s unclaimed and poor for over a century. The island off the Bronx was thrust into the national spotlight in early April, after the city announced it would be using the public cemetery to inter unclaimed victims of covid-19.

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Elyse Samuels and Adriana Usero - Washington Post

New York’s public burial ground becomes a way-stop between the morgue and cemetery

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Occupying 131 acres in Long Island Sound, off the Bronx shore, Hart Island is the largest public burial ground in the United States. It has been New York City’s public burial ground for more than 150 years. Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it is being pressed into service as a temporary resting place for deceased New Yorkers whose families could not retain a funeral home.

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Yahoo News

Hart Island Could Be Temporary Burial Ground for Coronavirus Victims

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Some have called it a home for mass graves, but for more than a hundred years, Hart Island has been the city’s public cemetery.

Melinda Hunt, president of the Hart Island Project, a nonprofit which works to increase access to the island said the site is a well-managed public burial ground which has operated for generations.

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NY1
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Events

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Past events

Death Speaks to New York City Premiere

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At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City, 150 years of inmate labor suddenly ended. This video shows the last day of prison inmates burying the dead on Hart Island on April 2. Additional evening screenings at BPL will continue throughout the summer.


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Death Speaks to New York City ©2020 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

The Hart Island Project AIDS Initiative presents: You Won't Be Forgotten

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This workshop features a video with Belinda Brecska whose father Felix Reyes was buried on Hart Island in 1993. Belinda returns to the Bronx on June 20, 2019 but was misinformed about gazebo visits on that day. 

View Film: https://www.hartisland.net/aids_initiative

RSVP: staff@hartisland.net


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You Won't Be Forgotten still from AIDS Burials on Hart Island webseries

The Hart Island Project Annual Meeting

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The Hart Island Project Annual Meeting is open to the public and will take place on Zoom. Please join us at 10 AM. Link to join meeting


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The Hart Island Project AIDS Initiative presents: Everybody is Somebody

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This workshop features a video with Martha Wade whose cousin Shawn Ross was buried on Hart Island in 2005 when his mother refused to collect his body because he was gay. Martha learned about Hart Island in 2019 while watching the television series Pose. 

View Film: https://www.hartisland.net/aids_initiative

RSVP: staff@hartisland.net


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Everybody is Somebody/The Hart Island Project

The Hart Island Project AIDS Initiative presents: Ghost Kid Beats

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This workshop features a video with Rafael Ortega Jr who composes music under the name Ghost Kid Beats, an homage to his father who died of AIDS in 2012. Filmmaker Edward Heavrin donated footage showing burials three months before Rafael Sr was interred in Plot 355 on Hart Island. 


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Ghost Kid Beats/The Hart Island Project
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