Believed to be the largest and most active potter’s field in the country, Hart Island has accepted New York’s dead since the mid-19th century.
At least one million souls – the homeless, the poor, the stillborn, the unidentified and the unclaimed – are buried there. In its long history, however, access to the island of forgotten New Yorkers was either forbidden or greatly restricted.
The history of the Hart Island potter’s field is one of fear and isolation.
At one point, Manhattan was home to about a hundred graveyards. But during the 19th century, rising real estate values and fears that decomposing cadavers were producing […]