New York City’s Hart Island is the site of the city’s potter’s field. During 2020, over 2,000 COVID-19 victims were buried here. The City has a fantastic piece on the island and the history of burials there (coproduced with Columbia University’s School of Journalism).
A 2021 analysis by Columbia Journalism School’s Stabile Center and THE CITY found that over 2,300 New Yorkers were buried on Hart Island in 2020. That’s more burials than any year during the AIDS epidemic, another recent health crisis.
Stabile and THE CITY also found that New York City is on pace to bury 1 in 10 Covid-19 victims on the island.
The analysis shows who is more likely to be buried on Hart Island: Black and Latino residents, frontline workers and those with little access to health care.
Older 19th century or early 20th century buildings sometimes included a pivoting and braced hook like this that allowed objects to be slowly lowered or raised into/out of the cellar. Bags of coal, furniture, and other material would be tied to a rope that would be draped over the hook you see here.