The Unclaimed Dead Of New York English Literature Essay

Not all people in New York are buried in a epicurean mausoleum or a marble crypt. Folkss with no financess and no 1 to declare their remains end up in New York City memorial park. It has been in several different locations over the old 200 old ages: antecedently where the City Hall is located today and subsequently on in what is presently called Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village, a comparatively stylish and costly territory. It finally moved to Hart Island, 100 estates merely off the coastline of the Bronx in New York in1869. ( Dupre, Judith Monuments, America ‘s History. Italy, Random House p.46-47 2007 print )

Hart Island is known as Potter ‘s field, where 1000s of the New York City ‘s unidentified, destitute and forgotten have been laid to rest. In pine caskets in ordinary Gravess packed three organic structures shallow for grownups, five deep for babes and each ditch marked with a numbered concrete slab. Harmonizing to ( Christian Religious Writings / Bible ) New Testament ( Acts 1:19 ; Matthew 27:7 ) ( Potter ‘s field is the dirt bought by the main priests with the money paid for the treachery of Jesus which Judas had returned to them to be used as a burial topographic point for aliens and the outcast hapless ) .

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It is the biggest revenue enhancement funded cemetery in the United States. A graveyard with a position is what it is called. Hart Island has had several other maps in the yesteryear. At one clip it was a gaol for Confederate soldiers, and for awhile, the US Army maintained a Nike missile station at that place ( Nike is surface-to-air missiles intended to hit down enemy aircraft ) , it besides served as a psychiatric infirmary, a TB infirmary, a male childs ‘ detainment centre and a adult female ‘s prison, but its most lasting usage has been as a burial land for the mute for dead. The Department of Correction estimations since 1845, that about 850,000 citizens have been buried on Heart Island, with 2,000 extra new organic structures arrive annually, most of them spontaneous abortions and babies. In 1948 the inmates erected a memorial to all the unclaimed dead who are buried on Hart Island, which still stands to this twenty-four hours. ( Copy for A Historical Resume of Potter ‘s Field was prepared by Gale Silver, Public Relations Unit, NYC Dept. of Correction, 1967. ) Because it is portion of New York ‘s biggest detainment centre and the metropolis does n’t want people examining around a mass grave. The Island is maintained by the Department of Corrections ; exhumation, entombments, and ordinary savings are done by captives ferried over from Rikers Island. Merely the mute for dead and the captives are allowed on the island. Although household members are allowed, if they are established they are permitted to see for closing. But they are required to come in the penitentiary system to see. There is no diagram of the entombments and no 1 is allowed to see a peculiar grave. Mentioning safety grounds, they deny most other petitions to see. ( Printed at the Rikers Island Print Shop Inmate Vocational Training Program, 1967. )

The first baby in New York to go through away with AIDS is buried in a individual grave, with an existent mark that says SC particular kid B1 -Baby 11985. The babes ‘ names fill up 100s of diaries, and portion small in common except the flooring shortness of their lives here on Earth. Merely 9 yearss after being born on Feb. 12, 1990, : Baby girl Warburton besides on March 19, 1990, 2 hours old Baby miss Mieses, and five proceedingss after being born on March 20, 1990, Baby boy Suazo, The organic structures were in bantam pine coffins and covered as one, in a immense grave on Hart Island. These babes and tonss more babies, harmonizing to a burial leger, are in trench No. 51. ( Buckley, Cara. ‘Finding Name callings for Hart Island ‘s Forgotten. ‘ New York Times 24 Mar. 2008: 1. Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO.Web. 12 Apr. 2010. )

Not merely are the unknown buried here. So is Bobby Driscoll a really good known and extremely famed kid performing artist who won an extraordinary Academy award for his starring function in 1949 ‘s movie The Window. He was the first kid histrion put under elite contract to Disney studios. His voice was used for Walt Disney ‘s characteristic Peter Pan in 1953 and an reliable playing public presentation were filmed, so rotoscoped for the alive character. Besides the suspense gesture image The Window, he was greatest known for his work in Song of the South in 1946 and Treasure Island in 1950. He walked off from Hollywood in 1957 to take an ordinary occupation. His life quickly slid downhill after many apprehensions for counterfeit, assault drug, ownership, and besides a stay at a psychiatric infirmary and a 6-month prison sentence. He died belly-up and entirely in an derelict New York flat and is buried on Hart Island. He passed off at the early age of 31.According to ( happen a memorial # 8816 ( bio by: A.J. Marik ) Record added: March 12, 2000 )

Even though Access to Hart Island is illegal, and it takes an authorised base on balls or a heavy sum of bureaucratic paperwork to acquire mandate to see. This has n’t stopped film makers, there have been some films made at that place. Michael Douglas made a film called do n’t State a Word. There was besides the horror movie Island of the Dead, with Malcolm McDowell and Mos Def. The film is about wholly made on Hart Island. It is about a group of people that is attacked by man-eating flies and is trapped on the island. The names in the legers of the citizens buried on the island were for the most portion unachievable until late. A lady named Melinda Hunt, a New York City sculpturer, began researching the records of Hart Island in 1991.She had insurance, had a college instruction, and was a instructor at the local university, and lived in an flat near Union Square in Manhattan. She was astonished at how much raising a babe cost. She grew really fascinated in the island when she was pregnant. When the AIDS and cleft epidemic were hitting the hapless, and infant decease rates were really high in New York City. She sought to see personally where the babies of the metropolis ‘s addicted and inauspicious were stoping up being buried. She has helped for more than a decennary to happen people on Hart Island. She has obtained thru the class of a Freedom of Information application, 50,000 diaries for each person buried on the island since 1985. She is trusting to use the 1000s of pages to organize an on-line catalog that households can look for by day of the month of decease or by name. She besides felt like a batch of people were unobserved. She besides felt something was incorrect in America when we there were mass Gravess for babes and no sensible manner to raise our childs. She besides felt like how the other half dies is of import on how the other lives and the inequalities of life expand into how we handle our dead. ( December 5, 2007, NYFA Current: Melinda Hunt on the Hart Island Project ) At the terminal of a long journey through a labyrinth of metropolis bureaus: the NYPD, the Office of the Medical Examiner, and the NYC Department of Correction. Families learn the truth about how easy people become lost. As they fight to finish the most basic plaintive rites: sing a grave, dispersing the parents ashes, turn uping remains of the erroneously buried, seeking the records and in pursuit of justness. By her high virtue and her cognition, she became the contact individual for people confused by the assorted metropolis bureaus that was required to be navigated thru to happen whether relations had ended up on the Island. After she had gotten entree to the Island and with a lensman named Joel Sternfeld. Together they published a manuscript of exposure about Hart Island in 1998, and would subsequently on do a docudrama on the Island. They formed a yearlong presentation about the Island at a museum in 1997. Peoples have contacted her, frenetic to track down household who went to New York and disappeared, and babes which died at birth and was buried in haste because their households could non afford nil else. Every grave corresponds to an entryway in a leger and there are no single Gravess. She felt like the populace should cognize where their household members could be buried. She is seeking to demo an unknown portion of American society that she thinks is of import, and that she feels is overlooked. She felt like these were public records and belong to the citizens of New York. ( December 5, 2007, NYFA Current: Melinda Hunt on the Hart Island Project ) Those who have been to Hart Island on a regular basis refer to it as lonely and creepy, an island so full of the dead that it has, itself has ceased to be in any existent sense. Standing on the shore, you can still experience the solitariness, looking across the H2O. As captain Herity and some inmates explains in this interview.

Brendan Herity, captain of the ferryboat, said ‘A batch of people ca n’t make it. There is a odor of decease that gets in your system and gets in your apparels, and you ca n’t acquire rid of it. Most of the officers and inmates ca n’t make it ; there is unhappiness every bit good. The tonss are larger following a acrimonious cold enchantment, when people freeze up on the metropolis streets. The organic structures are non embalmed so nature takes over so we can re-use the countries. The edifices now look like a shade town, with broken Windowss and grass shot up through floors and streets. David Applig, one of the inmates said ‘Our mission out here is to clear and keep the country. Weeds grow like jungle here. They die in suites, on the streets, and no 1 claims their organic structures. We besides want to reconstruct an ambiance of self-respect and regard. But I merely sort of feel like we owe these people some regard. You ever think person should at least say something. You wonder who they were, and why no 1 cared. Maybe it ‘s more than what was shown to them in life ‘ . ( WILLIAM E. , GEIST, ABOUT NEW YORK ; the Unwanted Find Their Rest On Hart Island New York Times 08 Aug. 1987: 29. Newspaper Source Plus. EBSCO. Web. 12 Apr. 2010. )

Each household member represents a bigger group of who is buried on Hart Island: victims of disease, immigrants, victims of offense and epidemics and babies. Their organic structures tell different narratives and are separated into chapters of the unknown and hapless of New York. Hart Island is the last undeveloped one hundred estates in New York City, a topographic point rich in nature. Yet, it carries a cardinal fright of being forgotten. This is a burial topographic point of over three quarters of a million people ; it represents a democratic system every bit good as the looming flipside of the American Dream. ( Melinda Hunt on the Hart Island Project NYFA Current December 5, 2007 )

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