In 2010, AP National Writer Adam Geller filed an in-depth story about Hart Island. It’s the island off New York City where the unclaimed, unidentified and indigent have long been buried. Last week, as New York City dealt with a mounting coronavirus death toll and dwindling morgue space, the city announced that Hart Island would be used for the burials of virus dead unclaimed after 14 days in storage. That shortened the amount of time the city would hold unclaimed remains before they’re buried in its “potter’s field” on Hart Island. For those interested in learning more about Hart Island and its lengthy history, we offer here a look at Geller’s story, “City of the Dead,” as it appeared on Oct. 31, 2010. “These people sort of speak to me” When the dead are delivered, four mornings a week, the ferry Michael Cosgrove is waiting. A refrigerated truck from the city morgue follows Fordham Street to its stump, between a used boat dealership and a lot thick with weeds, and a high chain-link fence warning “Prison-Keep Off.” For New Yorkers who die without the money, family or identity required to get a proper funeral, the dock just beyond is… Read full this story
- Drone footage captures prisoners digging graves in hazmat suits on Hart Island as NYC eyes it as a mass temporary burial site for coronavirus victims after 437 die in a day, bringing city death toll to 3,485
- New York City is no stranger to mass burials, particularly during major disease outbreaks like coronavirus COVID-19
- Eight hundred and six people die in New York City in a day: Daily death toll DOUBLES with total fatalities topping 4,000 as doctor describes life at field hospital in Central Park where patients could be hospitalized for weeks
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