News

Will Hart Island be reborn as NYC's newest public park?

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New York's public cemetery has been off-limits to the public for decades. But with a push to transfer control of the island-bound burial ground to the Parks Department, that could all change.

Read more… Will Hart Island be reborn as NYC's newest public park?
DON EMMERT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Bronx community board gives nod to law turning Hart Island into city park

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A Bronx community board urged Thursday that the isolated burial ground of Hart Island be transformed into a park.

Read more… Bronx community board gives nod to law turning Hart Island into city park
Claire Yaffa/The Hart Island Project

Community Board 10 discusses legislation on Hart Island transfer to Parks Department

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It appears that Community Board 10 will debate the merits of two new City Council bills about jurisdiction of the city’s Potter’s Field on Hart Island.

Read more… Community Board 10 discusses legislation on Hart Island transfer to Parks Department
Patrick Rocchio/Bronx Times

Push Continues for Greater Access to Hart Island Public Cemetery

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Getting to visit a loved one at the city's public cemetery on Hart Island isn't easy, but advocates have made some headway in an effort to provide families with closure and are continuing a push for greater access to the burial site.

Read more… Push Continues for Greater Access to Hart Island Public Cemetery
William Mack/The Hart Island Project

Do the dead on this island deserve better visitation rights?

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New York's Hart Island is the nation's largest pauper's cemetery, and it's notoriously inaccessible to family members of the deceased.

Read more… Do the dead on this island deserve better visitation rights?
Chris Cascarano - MSNBC

Finding the Stories of NYC's Unclaimed Dead

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Roy Foss was a father who fought and lost a battle against alcoholism. Jan Winiarski sent money back to his family in Poland. Kenneth Selesky loved to cook. And Leonard Melfi was a famous playwright—who eerily wrote a play about dying anonymously.

Read more… Finding the Stories of NYC's Unclaimed Dead
©1994 Joel Sternfeld/The Hart Island Project

Brooklyn Live: Hart Island

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Charisma Troiano (Brooklyn Daily Eagle) talks with Melinda Hunt (Hart Island Project) and Bess Lovejoy (Historian) about the potter's field for Brooklyn.

Original air date: Jan 6, 2015

Read more… Brooklyn Live: Hart Island
Elizabeth Crowley - BK Live

Digital Museum for New York's Unclaimed Dead

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The over one million people buried on New York City’s Hart Island are unified by their invisibility.

Read more… Digital Museum for New York's Unclaimed Dead
courtesy The Hart Island Project

Website maps thousands of unmarked mass graves on Hart Island, allows families to upload tributes to loved ones

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They're unearthing the untold tales of the once-nameless faces buried in the city’s most mysterious final resting place.

Activists behind the push for access to a mass grave on Hart Island have launched an interactive website allowing loved ones to discover and eulogize family buried there.

Read more… Website maps thousands of unmarked mass graves on Hart Island, allows families to upload tributes to loved ones
courtesy The Hart Island Project

New York's forgotten finally remembered

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Sitting just off the east coast of the Bronx and a short boat ride from Manhattan is Hart Island, a tiny mile-long atoll and former Civil War prison camp that has for decades, and continues to be, a mysterious mass grave.

Read more… New York's forgotten finally remembered
DON EMMERT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

Site Aims to Demystify Hart Island's Tons of Anonymous Graves

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The Hart Island Project has launched its website that attempts to bring a name, face, and story to the 62,200
people buried in mass graves on the notoriously inaccessible Bronx island since 1980.

Read more… Site Aims to Demystify Hart Island's Tons of Anonymous Graves
courtesy The Hart Island Project

Bronx Talk News Television

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With Hart Island Guests: John Doyle, Melinda Hunt

Read more… Bronx Talk News Television
Bronx Talk - December 29, 2014

Hart Island lawsuit calls for more public access as advocacy continues on multiple fronts

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Hart Island, home to the city’s Potter’s Field burial sites that’s now off limits except for relatively infrequent visiting days, could soon be abuzz with visitors.

Read more… Hart Island lawsuit calls for more public access as advocacy continues on multiple fronts
Community News Group/Photo by Patrick Rocchio

Only Inmates and the Dead Are Welcome on NY Island

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Lush and unspoiled, within commuting distance of Manhattan, Hart Island would be a draw if admission rules weren’t so strict: You must be dead to stay and an inmate to visit.

Read more… Only Inmates and the Dead Are Welcome on NY Island
©2004 Melinda Hunt/The Hart Island Project

Family of stillborn baby holding out hope for access to Hart Island

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Marie Garcia never met her baby sister - and isn’t allowed to visit her grave.

Garcia’s mother, Rosaria Cortes Lusero, gave birth to a stillborn baby girl in October, 1995 at Elmhurst Hospital in Queens after a doctor attempted to reposition the baby in her womb.

Read more… Family of stillborn baby holding out hope for access to Hart Island
©1990 Claire Yaffa

Lawsuit Decries Limited Access to New York’s Publicly Funded Mass Grave

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Supported by tax payers on a city-owned island, New York City’s potter’s field is one of the country’s most inaccessible publicly funded spaces. The Hart Island cemetery is the secluded final resting place for over a million people, their bodies layered in trenches by inmates from nearby Rikers Island.

Read more… Lawsuit Decries Limited Access to New York’s Publicly Funded Mass Grave
Photograph by Jacob Riis of a trench at the Hart Island potter’s field (1860) (via Museum of the City of New York)

Lawsuit seeks visiting rights to NY potter's field

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A federal lawsuit Wednesday demanded public access to a small uninhabited island off New York City where the remains of about a million people who were poor or unknown are buried.

Read more… Lawsuit seeks visiting rights to NY potter's field
Craig Ruttle/Associated Press 2010

Cemetery on Hart Island dead wrong: suit

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They're dead and buried — and off limits.

A new class action lawsuit claims the city is violating New Yorkers’ civil rights by not not allowing them to visit relatives’ gravesites on Hart Island in the Long Island Sound.

Read more… Cemetery on Hart Island dead wrong: suit
DON EMMERT/AFP/GETTY IMAGES

A Prison for the Dead

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When Millie died last year, her foster mother was in a nursing home and her pimp was in jail. Nobody came to collect her body, so the city buried her where it has interred a million other unclaimed bodies: in a massive trench on an inaccessible, desolate shard of land in Long Island Sound called Hart Island.

Read more… A Prison for the Dead
Millie, the last time I saw her ©2013 Chris Arnade

City Island Civic Association, Chamber visit Hart Island and take tour

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City Island leaders toured Hart Island in a continuing effort to gain support for its transfer from the Department of Corrections to the Parks Department.

Read more… City Island Civic Association, Chamber visit Hart Island and take tour

Events

Hart Island Master Plan - June 18th Community Input Meeting

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NYC Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) is seeking your input and participation in a Master Plan for Hart Island. They have scheduled a public meeting to be held virtually on Tuesday, June 18th, 2024 from 6:00PM to 7:30PM.

The Master Plan is centered around the goals of improving access to the island, visitor experience, the island’s natural ecology, resiliency to severe weather events, and operations.  Register to attend 

Read more…

Past events

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