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Hart Island, Bronx

#8 of 9 in Parks in Bronx
Island · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
Hart Island, sometimes referred to as Hart's Island, is located at the western end of Long Island Sound, in the northeastern Bronx in New York City. Measuring approximately 1 mile (1.6 km) long by 0.33 miles (0.53 km) wide, Hart Island is part of the Pelham Islands archipelago, to the east of City Island.

The island's first public use was as a training ground for the United States Colored Troops in 1864. Since then, Hart Island has been the location of a Union Civil War prison camp, a psychiatric institution, a tuberculosis sanatorium, a potter's field with mass burials, a homeless shelter, a boys' reformatory, a jail, and a drug rehabilitation center. Several other structures, such as an amusement park, were planned for Hart Island but not built. During the Cold War, Nike defense missiles were stationed on Hart Island. The island was intermittently used as a prison and a homeless shelter until 1967, and the last inhabited structures were abandoned in 1977. The island now serves as the city's potter's field, run by the New York City Department of Correction until 2019, when the New York City Council voted to transfer jurisdiction to the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation.
The remains of more than one million people are buried on Hart Island, though since the first decade of the 21st century, there are fewer than 1,500 burials a year. Burials on Hart Island include individuals who were not claimed by their families or did not have private funerals; the homeless and the indigent; and mass burials of disease victims.

Access to the island is restricted by the Department of Correction, which operates an infrequent ferryboat service and imposes strict visitation quotas. Burials are conducted by inmates from the nearby Rikers Island jail. The Hart Island Project, a public charity founded by visual artist Melinda Hunt, has tried to improve access to the island and make burial records more easily available. Prior to 2019, several laws to transfer jurisdiction to the Parks Department had been proposed to ease public access to Hart Island.
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TripAdvisor traveler rating 3.0
9 reviews
  • As an Island that has gone through many transformations, this island is best used as it is: a burial ground for indigent and poor people who die in NYC.  more »
  • The grounds of this well known, but until recently not readily accessible sacred space, are a visit back in history. Our treasured Potters' Field is open to all.  more »
  • Looks like a cool place to just hang out!
  • Why but Why!!!! Someone anyone not done a documentary of the history and mystery on why people were buried here also why were corpses of veterans were taken from this grave to Cyers Hill cemetery. It make me feel so sad may that al RIP🙏💜

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