More than one million impoverished bodies have reportedly been buried here. Now It's becoming a public New York City Park.
Hart Island is located at the western end of Long Island Sound, in The Bronx in the northeastern portion of New York City. Measuring approximately 1 mi long by 0.33 mi wide, Hart Island is part of the Pelham Islands archipelago east of City Island.
Hart Island, a potter's field where New York City has buried its unclaimed dead for over a century, will finally accept visitors this year.
NYC Parks Department is planning to open Hart Island to visitors this year. But it is still unclear if the public can freely walk around.
https://www.nytimes.com/2023/03/24/nyregion/hart-island-cemetery-park.h…. A Million Bodies Are Buried Here. Now It's Becoming a Park.
According to NYC Parks https://www.nyc.gov/site/hartisland/index.page Hart Island is located in the northeastern section of The Bronx and can be reached by ferry from nearby City Island.
While Hart Island is currently only used for city burials, the island has served many uses since the 19th Century, including a quarantine station, a psychiatric hospital, a tuberculosis ward, a reform school, a homeless shelter, a rehabilitation facility, a military base, and a jail.
In 1869, the City first began using Hart Island as a public cemetery for the burial of people who died indigent or whose remains went unclaimed after their death. Some of the first people buried on Hart Island included indigent Civil War veterans. Since 1985 thousands of individuals who died of AIDS-related illness have been buried on Hart Island, including the first child to die in New York City of AIDS-related illness, whose grave is indicated with a marker which reads "SC (special child) B1 (Baby 1) 1985." In 1991, the City ended all other uses of the island except as a public cemetery.
In 2021, management of Hart Island was transferred from the NYC Department of Correction to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation and the NYC Department of Social Services, as per an inter-agency Memorandum of Understanding.