Skeletal remains are literally just coming out of the earth at Hart Island, a massive burial ground near the Bronx borough of New York City. On Monday, 174 exposed bones were recovered from the Hart Island cemetery, where more than a million unclaimed New Yorkers – including many infants – with no family or no money are buried. But years of storms have eroded the island’s shores where the East River meets the Long Island Sound, unearthing graves. And the city hasn’t moved a finger – until now.
Entire skeletons are sort of falling out of the hill onto the beach, and then they’re washed away with the tide.
The city’s Department of Corrections, which runs the island, hasn’t done anything even thought they know about the situation, as officials are referring to this area as ‘bones beach.’ Moreover, several newspaper articles have made the headlines in recent months (TimeOut, NY CBS Local, NewsDay)
Hart Island is only open to visitors by appointment months in advance. Last week, Hunt and a photographer captured pictures from a boat, showing bones scattered among the rocks.
Suddenly this week, officials fast-tracked the process. In a statement, the Department of Correction said officials have visited the site and will rebury any exposed remains. The agency said it will expedite work to prevent more shoreline erosion. The Federal Emergency Management Agency gave the city $13 million to use toward repairs on the island, which are expected to start in 2019.
Hart Island has served as New York City’s public cemetery since 1868. About 1 million people are buried there.