Potter's Field - 2


Hart Guides: Tom McCarthy, NY Correction History Society General Secretary, above, and DOC Capt. Eugene Ruppert (not shown).


Grave Markers

Hart Island

There are no ceremonies for the dead here on Hart Island.  Inmates from Rikers Island are assigned burial detail and are ferried over to do the work.  Coffins are stacked -- 150 to a common plot-- in two columns three coffins high. Each finished plot is designated with a white marker.  Infants' coffins are stacked a thousand to a common plot.

What otherwise might have served as an idyllic retreat of meadows, woodlands and sand dunes, Hart holds too many ghosts -- from the sturdy anachronisms that whisper of a more vital time, to the terrifying reality of the Nike bases, to the seemingly boundless fields of the unwanted dead -- to ever be anything more than a sad, sad island.


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Text, images and page design by NYCHS June 15, 2000 tour participant Michael Harling,
author of Origin of the NYS Bureau of Identification.
Mike also maintains a personal web site with pages about interesting places he visits. You can visit them too at http://www.lindenwald.com/album/.