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Thu Nov 7, 2013, 09:29 PM

 

What We Found at Hart Island, The Largest Mass Grave Site In the U.S.

http://gizmodo.com/what-we-found-at-hart-island-the-largest-mass-grave-in-1460171716

Itís a place where few living New Yorkers have ever set foot, but nearly a million dead ones reside: Hart Island, the United Statesí largest mass grave, which has been closed to the public for 35 years. It is difficult to visit and off-limits to photographers. But that may be about to change, as a debate roils over the cityís treatment of the unclaimed dead. Never heard of Hart? Youíre not aloneóand thatís part of the problem.

Hart Island is a thin, half-mile long blip of land at the yawning mouth of Long Island Sound, just across the water from City Island in the Bronx. Depending on who you ask, it was named either for its organ-like shape or for the deer (or hart) that thrived here after trekking across the frozen sound in the 18th century. Hart is dense with history; itís been used as a prison for Confederate soldiers, a workhouse for the poor, a women's asylum, and a Nike missile base during the Cold War.

Its most important role has been to serve as whatís known as a potterís field, a common gravesite for the cityís unknown dead. Some 900,000 New Yorkers (or adopted New Yorkers) are buried here; hauntingly, the majority are interred by prisoners from Rikerís Island who earn 50 cents an hour digging gravesites and stacking simple wooden boxes in groups of 150 adults and 1,000 infants. These inmatesómost of them very young, serving out short sentencesóare responsible for building the only memorials on Hart Island: Handmade crosses made of twigs and small offerings of fruit and candy left behind when a grave is finished.

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Reply What We Found at Hart Island, The Largest Mass Grave Site In the U.S. (Original post)
Cooley Hurd Nov 2013 OP
LongTomH Nov 2013 #1
d_r Nov 2013 #2
Link Speed Nov 2013 #3
Denis 11 Nov 2013 #4

Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Thu Nov 7, 2013, 09:33 PM

1. God have mercy upon us!

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Response to Cooley Hurd (Original post)

Thu Nov 7, 2013, 10:13 PM

3. I've heard about this place

 

A few years back, I found myself in a bar in Bronx (I think it was Bronx, it was close to the World's Fair site) that was full of Riker's Island guards. Seriously, every one in that bar (except me and the 'tender) worked at Riker's.

Two of them had spent the day at Hart Island and the rest of them were giving them a pretty good ribbing about it.

It was one wild night - a half-crazy bartender, a guy with hair to his waist and a bunch of serious drinkers in prison-guard uniforms.

I wish I could find that bar again. Women who work in prisons are pretty uninhibited. Those women were, anyway.

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Response to Link Speed (Reply #3)

Thu Nov 7, 2013, 10:36 PM

4. you were in Astoria or Long Island City Queens.

Rikers is in the Bronx, but the bridge connects it to Queens.

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