Hart Island potter's field will become easier to visit

Hart Island

The New York City Council has voted to make Hart Island — the nation's largest public burial ground — more accessible to families of the dead.

By a vote of 45-2, the council opted on Thursday to transfer control of the potter's field from the Department of Correction to the Department of Parks and Recreation.

About 1 million people are buried on the desolate island, many anonymously and unclaimed. Graves are dug by prisoners of nearby Rikers Island jail, and the island off the Bronx is reachable only by an occasional ferry.

In recent years, erosion has washed remains into Long Island Sound.

Families who have located their loved ones have difficulties visiting graves under security imposed by prison authorities.

The city is considering public transportation stops that would expand access.


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