For more than a century New York City has buried the unclaimed dead on this eerie island.

And soon, it will be open to public tours.

Hart Island In New York City Is the 'Island of the Dead'

When I first learned about Hart Island, it seemed like something out of a horror movie. A small island located in Long Island Sound to the East of the Bronx, Hart Island is New York City's public cemetery. According to the New York Times, the island has played that role for over 100 years and "...the morgue trucks, loaded with plain, unmarked pine boxes, still arrive regularly by ferry...where the city has long buried its unclaimed dead." About 1,100 burials a year still take place at the cemetery. SideNote says the grounds were also used for mass burials at the height of the COVID pandemic and calls Hart the 'Island of the Dead.'

Has Hart Island Always Been A Burial Ground?

Over the years the New York Times says Hart Island has also served as a prison, psychiatric hospital, training camp, a prison for Confederate soldiers during the Civil War, and more. The island has several rundown buildings still standing on the island from various uses over the years.

But because of its most infamous role, New York City has never granted public access to the island, until now. The island will soon feature guided tours as well as nature classes in what the Times calls an effort to "lift the stigma" of the island and honor those buried there.

SideNote recently posted a video tour of the abandoned remains which are simply eerie in their appearance knowing the history of the island.. You can tour the island through the photos below.

1 Million People Buried On New York's Island Of the Dead

For over 100 years New York City's Hart Island has been a cemetery where over 1 million souls have been buried. The New York Times says 1,100 per year are still buried there, and according to SideNote the island was most recently used as a mass burial site at the height of the COVID pandemic.

Gallery Credit: Matty Jeff

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