Hart Island, the largest public cemetery in the nation, with remains of an estimated one million people, became a New York City park Wednesday as Mayor Bill de Blasio signed a law giving the Department of Parks and Recreation control of the Bronx landmark.
With the stroke of a pen, de Blasio made the one-square-mile slice of land a public space and ended decades of control of the island by the city’s Department of Correction, which had restricted access and used inmate volunteers as gravediggers. The burials, stretching back to 1869, were of deceased who were both identified and unknown.
The mayor also signed related legislation, including a companion measure tasking the city Department of Transportation with devising more extensive ferry service to the island for the public. Currently, access is available from one dock on City Island operated by correction officials. More
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