Judy, an RN who lives in Virgina and works for the National Institues of Health in Bethesda, Maryland, contacted Harling via e-mail. She expressed the hope that someday she might have an opportunity take such a tour herself to see once again the island where she spent so many happy childhood vacations. Harling, an active NYCHS member and the author of the Origins of the New York State Bureau of Identification, extended excerpts of which are presented on this web site, referred her to the webmaster/general secretary.
The referral prompted action on a suggestion made some weeks earlier by Virginia Gallagher, a NYCHS member as well as founder/president of the City Island Historical Society. She had participated as one of the guides in both the June 15 and April 27 Hart Island history tours. As a special accommodation to those taking the tours, she opened the museum that would have been normally closed at those times on those days. The City Island Museum is situated on Fordham St., a short distance from tbe ferry slip at the end of the same street.
Gallagher, who also is a member of the New York City Tax Commission as well as officer of various civic and charitable institutions and organizations, had suggested that City Island attorney Mary McDonnell would be an interesting person for NYCHS to interview because she had lived on Hart as a child.
Rather than simply an interview, a counter-suggestion was offered. Why not invite Mary McDonnell to join Judy Colgran in a NYCHS-arranged Going-Home-to-Hart tour? Commissioner Gallagher acted on that offer and Mary accepted the invitation. Word got around City Island and soon an invitation was also extended to Patricia Murphy as another former Hart resident. She too accepted. More might have been interested in a return visit had there been additional time to spread the word, but Judy's window of opportunity to make a trip up from Virginia during her vacation was running out. Also the regular ferry's backup boat has considerably less passenger capacity.
As the returnees strolled along the tree-lined east-west street traversing the narrow island and connecting to the shore roads running north and south:
In front of former Warden Edward Dros' home, the group boarded an inmate bus, complete with window and interior security grills and partitions. Because the regular ferry was out of service, the inmate bus was the only motor transport available on the island.
With CO Cassara as driver, they rode the bus a short distance to the island's industrial complex, and stopped just south of the old dynamo (power) plant.
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