New York’s Potter’s Field — UPDATED

So you’re a big city, and people wind up dead, and they have no loved ones to claim them (or, in some tragic cases, the loved ones are simply too slow or are not notified in time); and you have to bury them. Where do you put them?

If you’re New York City, you have prisoners bury them in mass graves on Hart Island, a small piece of land at the mouth of Long Island Sound. Over 900,000 bodies have been buried there; and if you’re unlucky enough to have a loved there and wish to re-inter them elsewhere it seems that you’re out of luck. The graves are unmarked and the record-keeping is slipshod.

I suppose most large cities have similar places, and similar problems; but it seems like there ought to be a better way to run things.

UPDATE: The New York Times has its own take on Hart Island.

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