Friday, August 29, 2008

Hart Island



Taken in conjunction with Marie Lorenz, who provided not only good company, but passage on her lovely hand-made boat, the Tide and Current Taxi.




There are dozens of islands in the waters around New York City, and many of them have rich and little-known histories. Perhaps the most fascinating of all of them is Hart Island, 131 acres of land just east of City Island at the western edge of Long Island Sound. Originally called "Heart Island" due to the fact that its footprint resembles the shape of the organ, the "e" was soon dropped.

Hart Island has been a prisoner of war camp a number of times; in the mid-19th century, it housed confederate POWs; in the mid-20th, it held POWs from World War 2. The island has also been home to a prison and a womens' asylum, a workhouse and NIKE missile base. But if the average person knows anything at all about Hart Island, it is likely the fact that, since 1869, the island has served as New York's sixth potter's field. Approximately 800,000 bodies are buried on the island, making it the largest publicly funded cemetery in the world.

In addition to the potter's field, which takes up the entire northern half of the island, and has now moved to the southern tip, there are a number of buildings remaining on the island.


Southern entrance to the Pavilion building.

The Pavilion building, built in 1885, was originally an insane asylum for women. It handled the overflow from the asylum on Roosevelt Island, and typically received chronic cases. In the 1970s, it saw its final use as a drug rehab facility called Phoenix House.


The dedication plaque on the Pavilion building.



Patients at Phoenix House did occupational therapy as a part of their treatment. In the Pavilion building, they worked on leather shoes. Some of the shoes are scattered about near the building; it's remarkable that in over three decades, they remain in relatively good shape.


The first floor of the Pavilion building. All evidence points to this floor having been repurposed as a combination of kitchen and dining hall.



View into one of the kitchen areas in the Pavilion building.



Second-floor landing of the northern stairwell.


The second floor of the Pavilion.


It appears as if all the shoes were piled up here when the shoemaking operations ceased.

Hart Island has a web of overgrown streets connecting the various buildings in the center of the island. A few of the roads, such as the one leading to the monuments at the north end of the island, show signs of recent use, but most have been completely abandoned along with the structures, the streetlights, and the rest of the once-bustling central portion of the island.




Attached to the physical plant is this Romanesque dynamo room, built in 1912.

Many of the smaller structures on the island were used by the Department of Corrections as records storage buildings. Today, hundreds of thousands of pages of moldering records slowly decay in these abandoned buildings.



In 1935, a new Catholic chapel was built to replace one which had, by that point, become dilapidated. The chapel is still in remarkably good shape.


The exterior of the chapel.


A view towards where the altar would have been from the mezzanine level.


The stained glass is sadly gone from this window. On the milk crate on the mezzanine, there are two grenades. Downstairs in the chapel proper, dozens of grenades are piled up in another milk crate.

Towards the southern part of the island, a small white building stands next to recent excavations. As the potter's field expands, the buildings will be demolished to make way for new graves.



The last building we visited was at the edge of the newest burial fields. Another structure that was part of the original womens' insane hospital, and repurposed to be a part of Phoenix House, this ward building was in much worse shape than the Pavilion building. The floors were ready to go in several places, and the roof had completely fallen in on significant sections of the northern part of the building.


In the courtyard between the wards to the west, there was an open burial pit in which a goose had taken residence.


Much of the second floor was collapsing. Here, the roof is making a valiant effort to fight off nature, but as always, the water has been winning the battle.


Some patient beds remain on the somewhat more intact southern side of the building.

Beneath the ward in which the patient beds were found, we came upon a room that had several empty pine boxes inside. The bags full of Tyvek suits and rubber gloves helped tell the story of the boxes - here were the former resting places of people who had been buried on Hart Island, but disinterred at the requests of their families.

(ADDENDUM: Melinda Hunt has pointed to the lack of certain specific markings on the boxes, as well as the lack of dirt, as evidence that these were not, in fact, disinterred coffins. Rather, they were coffins that were never buried. I believe her correction warrants notation on this blog.)



I might at this point mention the work of Melinda Hunt, and her Hart Island Project. Hunt has been working for years to open up the records of the people buried on Hart Island, in order that families can more easily find the graves of their kin. At the same time, she works to destigmatize the concept of mass burials; while there is a misconception that only the homeless are buried in the potter's field, this is simply not true. The majority of those buried are infants; in addition, those who cannot afford burial elsewhere often come to Hart Island, as well as anybody whom the city cannot identify within a certain time period.



On our way out of this building, we passed by one of the mass graves, apparently for adults. Since no burials were being performed on the day of our visit, the graves were covered over with plywood. A half-dozen yellow rubber gloves lay nearby. When 150 coffins fill each adult grave, they are covered over with dirt, and marked with a simple marker.



The first person buried in the potter's field was Louisa Van Slyke, a 24-year-old woman, in 1869. Since then, over three quarters of a million people have found final rest on the island. The records for most of these burials were lost in a fire.

The potter's field at Hart Island is the largest cemetery in the United States.

116 comments:

Nathan Kensinger said...

Simply an amazing set of photos.

I had long thought Hart Island was completely off-limits and impossible to reach without being arrested, but I should have known nothing could stop you! Meanwhile, the things you found on the island are stunning. I love, in particular, the grenades in the chapel, the massive collection of abandoned leather shoes... all those odd artifacts left behind in this strange island.

Thank you for documenting this important, historic place and for sharing the experience with us through your excellent photos and words.

Jeremy Harris said...

Awesome stuff, Mr.Nickel. They don't look desaturated to me, though they do take forever to load (and I have fast DSL).

Try making jpgs using SAVE FOR WEB in Photoshop.

Stacy Horn said...

These photographs are stunning, thanks for sharing them.

Pro-Zak said...

Three cheers for the Tide & Current Taxi!!

Lisanne McT said...

An amazing trip you took there, I am stunned by these photos and the whole history of Hart Island. NYC sure has a lot of ghosts...thanks for sharing this secret place...the grenades, the shoes, the pine boxes and the name "Dynamo Room" are haunting.Thank you!

ken mac said...

fantastic, chilling post.

k! said...

I'm quite jealous of your otherwordly experience. Thanks for bringing it back to us via the photos!

Jeremy Harris Photography said...

take me! take me!

Melinda Hunt said...

Thanks for posting and for linking to the hart island project.

ghost hunter said...

Thank you for this post and amazing photos!

I wish the TAPS guys would be allowed to conduct a paranormal investigation here.

Glimmerglass said...

Another brilliant series of pictures of another place which despite being rather close to the City is seemingly a whole world away.

Those photos are pure emotion which convey a forgotten place of haunting sadness, discarded lives and yet strangely peaceful.

Thanks for capturing of 'the mood' found there and sharing!

Victor Desson said...

Thank you for sharing these great photos.

I hope this will make people more aware of these precious time capsules which history should be saved for future generations. For met his place is just as relevant for NYC as Ellis Island.

The Netherlands

double L said...

This is an amazing set of photos. I was just wandering around City Island today, taking some pictures.
This is such a mysterious, eerie part of the city. Thanks!

Kartar said...

Amazing photos.

Department of Corrections records rotting away? So much for history I guess. Might be worth telling the New York State Archives about the files - http://www.archives.nysed.gov/aindex.shtml.

Jim said...

You are an inspiration for me. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Hart Island yes I was there for three months burying those unfornate decised much hard labor.so said the judge,he was right.fell into one of the coffins got very sick.Glad to get out of there.Hart Island,yes Hart Island.

Anonymous said...

Has anyone noticed the aparition on the wall in the photo of the stairwell at the hspital?

SC

Anonymous said...

These are spectacular photos of a world that is gone. Ian, I have had a fascination with abandoned buildings since I was a kid, and know first-hand how perilous it is to step inside them. You have done some crazy-dangerous things, buddy. Grateful that the Daily News pointed me to your site. What is it that pulls people like us to these beautiful relics?

May said...

I'm a Staten Islander (southern ex-pat now), and this really touched me because these magnificent buildings are our heritage.

My parents ended up on Cassidy Place on SI in the senior apartments there. Directly in back toward Richmond Terrace, was the old public health building (I think), also a heritage building in a state of decay 20+ years ago. What a shame.

I am too far away to even attempt to save beautiful Trinity Church on Delafield Avenue and Elizabeth Street. I heard it was recently a yeshiva and now will be bulldozed
and in its place will be condos.

That church was designed by a very famous architect, I believe, Gothic in design, with a steeple and bell that chimed on Sunday.

Had beautiful stained glass windows, and I just can't believe
they would destroy that church for "lack of parking".

I really enjoyed your photos.

What precautions do you take when going through them?

KSwizz said...

I guess i see a female figure in the bottom right of the picture. Her bust and darked eyes facing us.

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos. I spent about 30 days on Hart Island as part of my incarceration. There are indeed many buildings and roads there. We used to go and feed the pigs that the Correction Officers had on the Island. There were also chickens and dogs as well. We were also able to go and see the missile silo. Remarkable. I did have an "opportunity" to bury the coffins so to speak. Really sad when you think about it. Chris

Lenny Walker said...

I remember seeing a movie that used some of the buildings in your photo's, sort of spooky! Lenny Walker

whoinsamhill said...

Fine colors and light and form? Your pictures tell as much of a story as those that document the actual functioning of the hospital, to me anyway With your colors and light and composition the place looks more than habitable, to me anyway. No the place is beautiful. You make it look beautiful.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for these beautiful, haunting photos! I love old, abandoned places. I live on Roosevelt Island which ahs a rich history and it saddens me that most of the old buildings were vanalized and demolished. We should work to save these gems of history.

Anonymous said...

Your photos are eerily beautiful. I wish I could afford to buy one. Wish you every success. P.S. The elevated space from which you took the interior chapel shot is not a "mezzanine." It's a choir loft.

Lawson Stowe Warren said...

Outstanding site!

My great-great uncle, a Confederate soldier from North Carolina was once buried there, having died on Davids Island from wounds received at Gettysburg (July 1, 1863). His body was later moved to Cypress Hills National Cemetery in Brooklyn.
I hope to vist Hart Island one day.

Again, very well done and many thanks to all.

Lana said...

I am SO glad I found your blog. The photos are hauntingly beautiful!

Highton-Ridley said...

Stunning set of images, Richard. Lighting, framing and comp are a lesson to us all.

Huge tonal ranges, too - you must let us into your secret.

I did a similar sort of thing on a much smaller scale, a photo essay on Plymouth. I called it Urban Decay, Lost Spaces and Industrial Ugliness and I was lucky enough for the BBC to feature it.

Now that I'm following your blog I hope to be further inspired!

Cheers,
--Mark

Joan Banta said...

Your photos are wonderful! Growing up in Brooklyn I have always been facinated with Hart Island. My father always mentioned it as Potter's Field and since a child I always wanted to visit. I hope that someday someone will realize that it is a part of our herritage just like Ellis Island and allow the public to visit.

Joan Banta said...

Your photos are wonderful! Growing up in Brooklyn I have always been facinated with Hart Island. My father always mentioned it as Potter's Field and since a child I always wanted to visit. I hope that someday someone will realize that it is a part of our herritage just like Ellis Island and allow the public to visit.

Anonymous said...

I PASSED THERE TODAY ON A BOAT!!! I AM FLIPPING OUT WHAT THE HELL OMFG!!!! i think im freakin haunted now

Anonymous said...

Melinda Hunt is wrong. Bodies are brought to Hart Island already in coffins, so they were previously burried. Also note her lack of markings on the coffins, when in the 2nd picture you've posted of the pine boxes, a ref number and obviously a last name written on the side, Also, picture above it, one of the pine box covers is split, suggesting it was ripped/pried open.

Melinda Hunt is wrong.

Anonymous said...

I'm so naive. I never realized places or islands like these existed. So many buried/unclaimed people in one place. It's unreal and horrible.

Anonymous said...

Great photos and a sad, historic, site. Lets hope the living were treated well there.

Is it me, or can something be seen on the landing of the staircase? Dramatized here: http://www.3gwebdesign.com/clients/hart-island-staircase.jpg

Joe Mulvey said...

My father was a Dept. of Correction employee assigned to Hart island in the 1970s. His job was the operation and repair of the heating and plumbing systems on the island. The DOC employees maintained some of the usable buildings for the Phoenix House,
I was able to visit Hart Island on several occasions. I recall a monument to the Civil War dead that I believe was placed there to honor both Union and Confederate soldiers buried on the island. The photos are excellent,Thank you!

Anonymous said...

Worked out there many days with NYTel

On that Island was a Nike Site

a sewerage treatment plant and at

times a jail...Main building had a

jail in the basement...cival war

stuff..north side was potters field

and Trailers for convicts..

Phoenix house took over most but

bailed after a few years

Access now buy DOC ferry...I think

they allow civic history out

their but not sure when

Stigmata said...

Fascinating topic, and equally amazing photos. However, to all the people saying theres something on the staircase... there is NOTHING THERE. Ghosts are most certainly real. This island, with its history and 800,000 unclaimed bodies, is haunted beyond a reasonable doubt. But there is NOTHING ON THAT STAIRCASE. R.I.P. Hart Island

Anonymous said...

Thank you so putting your photos out there. I live in washington state so your site has been the best information getting site I have come to, and I don't see anything on that damn wall!

Anonymous said...

This is reality !
Thank you for your work.

faithbofella said...

The way things are going, next year there will be luxury condos, probably called "Potters Commons" "Potters Island...The End" (just like Montauk was called) "Be somebody when you live, and nobody when you die, and never leave the island"...Joe cacciatore

Julie S. Lantz said...

These photographs are absolutely amazing. Who would have thought Hart Island had so much beauty with these historical buildings and the stories behind them. I have a particular interest as my brother, John, was buried in Potter's Field in 1972, then known as Ward's Island. My personal journey in bringing my brother home has put me on another journey..... that of bringing attention to the plight of Hart Island and restoring it to its former glory and grandeur. Although Hart Island has many ghosts, the spirits of those buried on Hart Island deserve a place of dignity and some beauty upon which they may rest their weary heads. Family and friends have a right to visit their loved ones; and although the remains of many hundreds of thousands have probably been released back into the universe, their spirits are still alive and they deserve the respect and dignity all cemeteries should have. Hart Island IS a hallowed ground, albeit a rather unkempt one at the moment, and it must be restored as such. So I ask why can't the buildings, among which is a Chapel, be restored and made whole? Why can't trees and flowers be planted? Why can't statutes and fountains be erected? And why can't relatives and friends visit? It is much too convenient to point out the difficulties of such a project - money being a big issue (although I have ideas on how to start "that" ball rolling - so how about concentrating on the positive. And where would the resources come from to help rebuild, restore and salvage - well, the inmates on Ryker's Island, that's who. Let's put some of those folks to work over on Hart Island; I'm sure many of them would know how to clean up, cut down, plant, put a hammer to a piece of wood, install windows. How did this country ever get built anyway? Is Hart Island unsalvagable and shall it remain so for all eternity? I think not!
I welcome your thoughts.

Julie

miss. chief said...

Wow! I'm so glad I stumbled upon this!

Jean said...

Amazing!! I never heard of Hart Island until now. I was on Mapquest looking for Huntington, NY. I switched to arial view out of curiosity, zoomed in and started looking around, eventually coming across Potters Field. From there I googled Potters Field, read Wikpedia's description of the island, which referenced this blog post.

Beautiful pictures here, but all of it leaves me feeling very, very sad, especially that women's insane asylum.

Karen Sharpe said...

I am glad I stumbled onto your photo blog. I have spent over two hours going from place to place and found this one the most hauntingly beautiful of them all. You have a great photographic eye, I love the light and composition of each photo, especially the one of the second floor in the Pavilion building. Can't figure out for the life of me why there were grenades in the chapel.

I wish you much success with your work and would buy a book if you decide to publish these excellent forays into the past. Catch that Staten Island lighthouse before they take it down.

Elliott said...

This is great! I have to thank you for posting these. Abandoned structures are the best. Being a cartoon background artist I think I just found a great new reference site!!

-e

Anonymous said...

Its Amazing...How You Can Feel The Presence Of Something Through This Pictures...The Presence Of Lost, Sadness, Torment...May God Help That Energy Or Force That Lingers There.

Jeremy Harris Photography said...

I wouldn't think those objects on the milk crate in the chapel to be hand grenades. Seems unlikely that anyone would be careless enough to leave explosives lying about.

Anonymous said...

Very impressed w/ your and Marie's intrepid-ness. That's great you didn't get caught, and thank you for sharing these photos. One note - your grenades, my husband tells me, are most likely smoke grenades, or maybe tear gas, and both would make sense, perhaps, at a DOC site. yes, it is possible that they are another type, but they are more likely not so dangerous: http://www.answers.com/topic/hand-grenade-2 .

Meg said...

I am fascinated with Hart Island. I was wondering how you were able to visit it. I would love to someday go there and explore, but heard it was not open to the public. Please let me know your secrect. :) meghanlindsay@yahoo.com Thanks!

Meg said...

I am fascinated with Hart Island. I was wondering how you were able to visit it. I would love to someday go there and explore, but heard it was not open to the public. Please let me know your secrect. :) meghanlindsay@yahoo.com Thanks!

Tamara Purdy said...

Amazing and informative, thanks for sharing. Some one needs to record this history of NYC.

Anonymous said...

I must say this was one of the most interesting sites I have seen. Thank you so much for the field trip to Harts Island.

I find Potters Field - Harts Island so fascinating. Such history, it's amazing.

I wonder what would happen if the New York Sound decide to flood and or drown the Island. Would the coffins float above?

How did you get so lucky to go to the Island and look around like you did?

Julie S. Lantz said...

I welcome anyone interested in Hart Island to visit my blog and website as follows:

http://hartisland-acryforhelp.blogspot.com/

http://hartisland-acryforhelp.org

We need to spread the word and do someting about Hart Island. And, judging by the comments, it would seem to me there is definite interest.

Thank you.

Julie

Anonymous said...

After living in New York City for 16 years, you think you've seen everything...and then you stumble upon something like this and realize that is certainly not the case. Thanks for sharing such interesting photos and info--it's very inspiring...and haunting.

Anonymous said...

I have spent many hours wandering the island both inland and the shore lines and have done some research on the internet about what I have seen on the northern shore lines of the island but with no luck. On one of my most recent trips I was searching the northern shore lines of the island and came across many human bones scattered on the shore. It would appear as if the island is eroding and human remains are being deposited into the water and shore line of the island. I was shocked to see this and see no effort to correct this by the city. It is terrible to think that peoples loved ones that are buried here are resurfacing and ending up in the Long Island sound.

Julie S. Lantz said...

I don't even want to think that my brother's remains, buried in 1972, are now floating around out there somewhere. Anonymous' 8/12/10 comment reinforces what I've been doing for over a year now - get someone, anyone, in NYC government to listen to me and do something about Hart Island. If this is true - that remains are now surfacing along the shores - and I've no doubt, words cannot even begin to convey............

Julie

Julie

inchirieri apartamente cluj said...

Awsome pictures! A lot of suffering occurred on this island. Prison, women's asylum, workhose…. But I don't see where it says that people go to the Hart Island on holiday. This island has not benefited from an effective advertisment.

news games said...

Ohh.. yes the pine boxes and the name "Dynamo Populate" are unforgettable.
Great pictures !!

Jeremy Harris Photography said...

I'm gonna have to agree with Mr. Pills.

Waleed Chohan said...

I am as glad as ever to drop by and witness all this beautiful piece of work. It is just amazing...

Rick from Whitestone said...

Fascinating pics and notes. I live right across the sound in Whitestone, and one day when I actually brave crossing the sound in a kayak (and not getting creamed by tugs/barges!), I might just do a little exploring, myself.

Anonymous said...

The second picture of the overturned coffin is indeed that of someone who was buried or still is buried on Hart Island. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GSln=Stolarczyk&GSbyrel=in&GSdyrel=in&GSob=n&GRid=50919553&

The names match.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1/14/11:

Or maybe someone saw the picture on this blog and decided to add that poor soul to Find a Grave in tribute? It was only added last year. I wonder...

Anastasia Beaverhausen said...

Fascinating work. I lived on City Island for 15 years and had no idea Hart Island even existed.

Anonymous said...

i was a prisoner for rikers island in the year of 2007 and worked for corrections as a digger at harts island and never seen any bodys surface on shore but it is haunted did it for about 5 months one crazy experience

Anonymous said...

I went deeply in Hart Island story after a casual discover of that island surfing on Google Maps. It is an incredible story, I suppose ( but I am not sure) that here in Italy this kind of cemetery for "poor and abandoned people" do not exist at all. Poor people are ina common area but in normal cemetery and at least with the name listed in a marble table.
Very interesting story, good for a movie ! Stefano

Anonymous said...

I was stationed on Hart Island with Batry D 66th AAA (Nike) from Dec. 1955 until Oct 1958. The prison was still active at that time. Potters field was next to our base, only seperated buy a fence. We could see the daily burials. We had to ride the prison ferry back and forth to City Island and sign in and out with the prison guard shack. It was a very strange place. We were allowed no contact with the prisoners, although the warden would send 2 or 3 daily to our compound to help with cut grass and things like that. They were allowed to eat with us and we gave them cigaretts. All in all it was great duty on Hart. Many fond memories of the place and also good times on City Island.
Robert McLaughlin
Austin Texas

tillybo1 said...

I would love to see this island restored to a more beautiful place. These poor souls who are lying here deserve to have flowers and bushes planted to make their final resting place more beautiful.
The buildings could be restored to house voluntary workers who want to work on the ground (cutting the grass around the graves planting shrubs etc) or do convicts still do this? Perhaps one of the buildings could be used as an archive which could store information about the very people who are buried on the island. Also I think it is imperative that the next of kin be allowed access to their families last resting places with the least amount hassle. Facinating place with facinating if not altogether sad history.

tillybo1 said...

I would love to see this island restored to a more beautiful place. These poor souls who are lying here deserve to have flowers and bushes planted to make their final resting place more beautiful.
The buildings could be restored to house voluntary workers who want to work on the ground (cutting the grass around the graves planting shrubs etc) or do convicts still do this? Perhaps one of the buildings could be used as an archive which could store information about the very people who are buried on the island. Also I think it is imperative that the next of kin be allowed access to their families last resting places with the least amount hassle. Facinating place with facinating if not altogether sad history. Martha Stewart Scotland

Julie S. Lantz said...

I thank Tillybo1 for her comments, and constructive suggestive ideas & thoughts regarding Hart Island. I've posted several times now - my brother is buried there - and while his remains - I've been told by the Department of Corrections who oversees the Island and its souls - will never be recovered and for that reason alone, I feel very strongly and am passionate about the Island's restoration, preservation, beautification not only for the sake, respect and memory of my brother, but for all those who have been lain to rest, and all those who will be in the future. Am I the only one who realizes we are talking about a cemetery, sacred ground? I haven't given up, even though I'm just lille ol' me. My mission continues. Yes, the Island is beautiful but we must not just leave it at that and do nothing. My brother is my main inspiration, yes, but all the souls buried there, no matter what walk of life they traveled, deserve better in death. It is for ALL that I will continue.

mcl1956m said...

i was a resident on hart island from 1972-1974,i was 15 years old and sent there because i was getting into trouble and taking drugs. many were sent from the courts as an alternative to prison. there are MANY interesting stories and incounters from those years. i would like to revist hart island and tell about them. looking at these beautiful pictures is very emotional for me. they are hautingly beautiful. i can be contacted at mcl1956m@aol.com thanks mike l

michael said...

i was a inmate in rikers island from 2004-05 and i had work detail there. i was the person who carved the numbers in the pine boxes of the deceased which they are stacked on top of each other. It was sad when i first began. i did that job for about 6 months. so I've experience alot hands on with the inmates & the D.O.C. everyday from that point on that experience cross my mind.

Keith said...

Wow. What a collection of photographs. I can only imagine what it was like to walk around on Hart Island. Both from a historical sense and quite frankly the eeriness of the place. Thanks for the pictures.

gobshyte said...

this is an amazing set of photos.my one question is did you read any of the records that appear in one of the photos?i dont think id be able to resist to be honest.having said that there probably wouldnt be anything that interesting.anyway thanks very much for a great blog

guglielmo maria kley said...

thank's you, for your ghost-job, this is,I hope, the dark side of shine, in Italy we tolk about "skeletor in the cupboard".
I know an italian artist:http://www.giovannisesia.it/
another example of unhappy human shadow... thank to you for exist!

www.lartemista.com

guglielmo maria kley said...

super....this is only one of the dark side of your Big States, but the skeletors in the cupboard is everywhere...sigh I know http://www.giovannisesia.it/ is an Italian artist who make your similar ghost-job, incredible truth revealed.
Have a good life!

www.lartemista.com

Brianna said...

Beautiful pictures!

ремонт кухни said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Alex said...

This is such an awesome post that you have shared here. The photos are brilliant, and the story is amazing. I'm blown away. I have to share this with my friend studying photography. She's going to love it. Thank you so much.

free bondage porn video said...

Great website, looks very clean and organized.

j_filipe said...

So bizarre how government buildings see themselves abruptly abandoned... budget cuts, politics and other things come to mind about this... so many untold stories here... especially the grenades... I'm guessing they're smoke grenades....

Jr said...

awesome collection of photos. keep em coming!

VALERIE said...

thanks for posting these photos and the story of Hart Island. I had no idea. really amazing.

Krissi said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
iblogmoore (Amanda Moore) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
joe lille said...

Thank you for sharing the photos. I am doing some research on Hart Island and would like to talk to people who have worked there. Please contact me.
joelilleore@gmail.com

muebles en rivas said...

I read really much helpful information here!

arts4all said...

Having just read the Preston/Childs novel, "Gideon's Sword" I had to Google Hart's Island. The photos are absolutely top notch and the narrative most informative!! Thank you.....

Jack Shuster said...

MY Great Grandfather, Sgt. Sam Shuster, Company F, 68th Pennsylvania Infantry served at Hart's Island at the end of the Civil War (1865). Any info on the prison would be greatly appreciated.
Jack Shuster
KonaCowboyCoffee@aol.com

Hugh C Young said...

Have read a couple of novels that included Hart Island!
The description intrigued me and I am always surprised to see a beautiful area abandoned to waste away.
The Chapel is really beautiful with its architecture of brick!
Thank you for the great pictures!

Anonymous said...

Amazing!! Thank You

Anonymous said...

Fascinating array of photos, especially the pile of shoes and similar shots. Great job. See the Department of Corrections web site for some good historical background data.

Anonymous said...

Great, great blog. See the Department of Corrections website for more.

Jack Shuster said...

Do you have an address or a link to Dept. of Corrections website?

kamagra said...

Your shots were great. Documenting a historical place is awesome. The buildings were useless in structure.

iknownuts said...

I say demolish the buildings, clean everything up and restore the island to its natural state.

Jennifer Alvarado Ramirez said...

hi my name is jennifer andujar... i was 7 months and half pregnant to a baby boy... i went into lincoln hospital to see my my baby wasnt kicking... little did i know; that i was about to be told the worst news in my life. aug 24 2006 i told that my baby heart stop beating and that they was very sorry but i lost my baby... i was so emontional that i didnt even think he wasnt with me... as the took me to prepare me to go into labor and push him out like he was still alive, all i kept thinking why god why? am on depression and other meds over this and over the fact that hart island doesnt want to release my baby to me... his mother who carried him for almost 8 months... if u was to ever go back please me with u </3 because my heart is broken and i lost my mind over this...

my email is

believelovepray@yahoo.com
or
mrsalvaradoramirez@gmail.com
my number is 347 3563547

Anonymous said...

Intriguing and haunting. I am so glad i found your blog.Thank you for documenting this.

Anonymous said...

Hope for all in this sad place!!

Anonymous said...

Was doing some ancestry Research and in the 1880 Census found a not sure how many times great aunt who was in the womans insane asylum! A Ellen Coogan. Fasinating Pictures. those old beds just gave me chills. I think the Island should be open to the public its a disgrace I think the chapel should remain and there should be some sort of historical center there and a place for familys to grieve there relatives

Anonymous said...

I got to know about Hart Island through a film I was watching last night. I was amazed to find out about it on the Net. Your pictures are amazing! Thanks for letting us see what Hart island is like. I'm from Argentina, and the dealing with those who die and have nobody to claim for them is totally different here. Thanks again!

Anonymous said...

The last time I was on Hart Island was back in 1971 or so. My grandfather did maintenance, steam fitting and such when Phoenix house was located there. I remember going to the "happening" of 1970. It was quite the event for a 9 year old just comming out of the 60's in NYC. The buildings were still in use then of course, and I specifically remember the chapel and its stained glass still intact.The institutional kitchen was tremendous to me at the time with the huge cooking kettles looking so much like their namesake drums fixed in place in rows along the walls.
To a kid that was used to the busy street traffic of Queens the little miniature town with streets void of vehicles seemed a little otherworldly with a population that resembled stereotypical concert goers of that era (or my older self and friends going to see the Grateful Dead back in the day) Transport was by ferry then. I remember taking it to that happening in 1970. One of the performers was taking their car accross with us. It was a silver jaguar E type, which I thought was about the coolest thing I'd ever seen in my young life at the time. The rest of us left vehicles in the ferry parking lot, though we where able to explore the island a bit more in the surplus jeep that was my grandfathers work vehicle on the island. I only vagely remember the graveyard being on the other side of the island from those days. We also would occassionally go to the island to fish by the docks on the weeends, often joined by some of the younger people in the program there.
It really is a shame that the structures were left unused to just rot decay, but also a sign that we were ready to move human services on from big prison like institutional settings.

Anonymous said...

As a teen in the 1960's we would sail passed Hart Island, I always marveled at the 30' monument with the cross; I knew it was a Potter's field. There was always something sacred about the island for me.

Charlie's Blog said...

is there paranormal activity taking place on this island? I would love to investigate.

Ward Wilgus, Bowdoin, Maine said...

Back in the 80's I worked in downtown Seattle, where each day I had to kill time during my lunch break. One day I happened through the Bon Marche's book department,
discovered a black & white photo-essay titled Hart Island and was so rivetted that I returned late from lunch. I've been fascinated ever since. Plenty of death there, yes? Causes me to think on the stark
aspects of existence. Hats off to Melinda Hunt for devoting herself to this project that has inspired
so many of us. Good Show, Melinda!

Anonymous said...

Author, you need to remove all the spam on these comments.

Stephen Lutz said...

My grandfather was a prison guard on Hart Island. I also attended the "Summer Happening" concert on the island as did someone above. I lived on City Island and we (students at St Mary Star of the Sea) used to play basketball games vs kids from Phoenix House.

How the heck were you able to get on the island to take these pics?

francesco said...

tutto così triste, tutto così vero

eve isk said...

Many of the smaller structures on the island were used by the Department of Corrections as records storage buildings. Today, hundreds of thousands of pages of moldering records slowly decay in these abandoned buildings.

Anthony B said...

It was the mid 80's when my uncle Anthony invited me to go fishing. We got up early, 4am, to rent a row boat in City Island.
We took off into the blue. Uncle decided to go beyond the prohibited area designated by buoys because we had no luck. Slowly, mild to stronger winds appeared out of nowhere. Uncle was exhausted from trying to fight against the tempest we were now in. The winds and waves took us into a small island. We parked the boat and proceeded to shore. We walked for a good time looking for any sign of refuge. None to be found. I remember some of the sites photographed here. I was too afraid to enter any of the buildings. The island had an eerily creepy feeling to it. I also remember uncle walking ahead while I peeked into a large ditch with white coffin-like boxes. I wasn't sure what they were. Never in my wildest imaginations would I think that I had stumbled into a undisclosed cemetery. I wanted immediately off this... Island. We headed back because of no sign of life or help.
After an hour into the sea again, a yacht approached us and asked if we needed help. They radioed in for help. Soon thereafter the coast guard picked us up. Around fifteen years later I remember in a movie titled, "Don't say a word" seeing Michael Douglas in a scene with potters field in it. I shouted out, "hey, I've been there!" I don't think anyone believed me. For all these years passed even I thought it was a dream. Thankfully with the advent of the internet that Al Gore "created", I am now able to see pictures of my past memories.
Btw, The pictures here are amazing. Thanks for posting them.

Anonymous said...

The first time I looked at the stairway, I saw nothing. When someone pointed out the figure, I then saw it. Was this a photography trick by the person telling us to look at it, or not?
Angie

Anonymous said...

The first time I looked at the stairway I saw nothing. Then when the figure was pointed out, I saw it. Was this a trick of photography, or not? Angie

guglielmo maria kley said...

I hope your reportage, was forever out of time. I read some amazing and interested post. More and more compliments.
My be possible for you to have a "Pulizer" ? :)
lartemista.com

rosemary said...

Very intresting.I remember the name potters field. Who knew.Pictures are nice.

Alana Callender said...

Mack Scallon, a chiropractor, was imprisoned on Hart Island in 1949-1950 for practicing medicine without a license. Your photographs helped me envision the conditions of his incarceration. Thank you.

A Siegreich said...

Is so creepy, i think people who lived here had a sad, very sad history; i have the same feeling when i see the nazi concentration camps, so much pain, and so much hopelessness... But that is for a moment, because is true that He will call us by name, no matter where our body is. To Jesuschrist be the glory. Amén.