Hart Island

Beginning October 1, 2021 management of Hart Island will be jointly operated by the NYC Human Resources Administration and the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, as per an inter-agency Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). The Department of Correction will continue to host this website for a short period, including the visit request and burial lookup functions, despite not managing these functions. Please continue to check this website for the most up-to-date information while a new Hart Island information website is under development.

For over 150 years, it has been the New York City Department of Correction's solemn duty to manage burials on Hart Island. The Island serves as the City's public cemetery and is the final resting place of over one million individuals. The island has now transitioned to a joint HRA and NYC Parks management structure. The City is committed to ensuring that the public has access to the island and has several services available to help the individuals find and visit their loved ones on Hart Island.

To contact the HRA Office of Burial Services – Hart Island Division, please call 929-221-6860 or email us at hartisland@hra.nyc.gov.The office is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. If you call outside of these hours, please leave a message and your call will be returned the following business day. All emails will receive a response within 24 to 48 hours, absent any extenuating circumstances

Information on Hart Island

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Visiting Hart Island

The City welcomes the public to visit Hart Island, pay their respects, and maintain vital connections to those that have passed away. The island can be accessed by scheduling either a public gazebo visit or a private gravesite visit. Visits to Hart Island are provided solely by the Department of Parks & Recreation and are free of charge to visitors.

Gravesite visits are reserved for those with close personal ties to a decedent, including family members, chosen family members, close friends, and partners. Gravesite visits are intended to provide an opportunity for loved ones to spend peaceful time at the final resting place of the decedent. Gazebo visits are currently suspended to limit the spread of Covid-19.

Type of Visits

Gravesite Visits

For individuals wishing to visit the final resting place of a loved one, the City offers gravesite visits to Hart Island twice a month, on weekends. A visitor who requests a gravesite visit is permitted to be accompanied by up to four (4) additional guests. Anyone wishing to visit a gravesite with more than four (4) additional guests should contact hart.island@parks.nyc.gov or by calling 212-360-3428.

Gravesite visits are reserved for individuals with close ties to a specific decedent.

Gazebo Visits

In an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19, the City is not scheduling gazebo visits at this time.

Scheduling and Preparation

Reservations to Visit Hart Island

Reservations to visit Hart Island may be scheduled by by calling 212-360-3428, emailing at hart.island@parks.nyc.gov, or by submitting a Visit Request Form online.

All visits must be scheduled at least five (5) business days in advance.

Availability for Gravesite Visits

Two (2) gravesite visit opportunities are available each scheduled day, one beginning at 9 a.m. and one beginning at 12 p.m. Each gravesite visit lasts approximately two (2) hours and can accommodate up to 15 visitors.

By submitting the visit request form for a gravesite visit, a requestor will affirm a close personal relationship with a decedent. Documentation of a requestor's relationship to the deceased is not required unless there is a reasonable basis for concluding that no relationship exists between the requestor and the deceased, in which case NYC Parks may require documentation if it has been unable to confirm the relationship through other credible means.

The names of all visitors and guests must be submitted in advance, when the reservation is requested.

2021 Visit Schedule

July 17
July 25
August 7
August 15
September 12
September 25
October 3
October 16
November 14
November 20
December 5
December 11

2022 Visit Schedule

January 8
January 23
February 5
February 27
March 12
March 27
April 3
April 23
May 14
May 22
June 11
June 26
July 16
July 24
August 6
August 14
September 10
September 18
October 1
October 16
November 12
November 27
December 3
December 11

What to Expect on the Day of Your Visit

NYC Parks is committed to providing a safe and respectful visit experience and is following all recommended public health guidelines for the City of New York and requires that visitors do the same.

Upon arrival at the City Island dock, all visitors and guests are required to present valid photo identification, sign the Hart Island Visitor Book, and sign and submit a liability waiver. All visitor and guest names must match with the names submitted on the reservation form. No unconfirmed visitors will be allowed to board the ferry to Hart Island.

City staff and visitors are required to wear appropriate face coverings and maintain safe social distance throughout the visit. If visitors do not have a mask, one will be provided. If a guest refuses to wear a mask, they will not be permitted to participate in a gravesite visit that day.

When visiting Hart Island, please consider any inclement weather conditions, especially during the summer and winter seasons, and dress appropriately. The island is accessed by a brief ferry ride from a dock on City Island, a bus will be provided on the island to access the gravesites. Urban Park Rangers will escort all groups and individuals to their designated visit sites, but will maintain a respectful distance in order to allow for a peaceful visit.

Visit Availability and Limitations

Visits will be scheduled for the requested date unless accommodation for a request is not feasible due to inclement weather, no availability on the date requested because maximum capacity has been reached, and any other factors beyond NYC Parks' control. In such cases, NYC Parks will make reasonable efforts to reschedule the visit for the next date requested.

If a deceased person's specific gravesite is either unidentifiable or inaccessible for reasons that cannot be remedied before the date of the visit, the requestor will be notified in advance of the visit and may be asked to reschedule. Alternatively, the requestor is permitted to visit an alternate gravesite or other location reasonably proximate to the requested gravesite.

Directions and Transportation

The ferry to Hart Island departs from a dock in City Island located at the east end of Fordham Street.

There is no parking on the City Island dock and parking near the dock is extremely limited. All visitors are strongly encouraged to take public transportation or carpool if possible. The Bx29 bus stops at the intersection City Island Ave and Fordham Street, which is a ten (10) minute walk to the dock. All visitors are reminded to follow local parking regulations.

How to Find a Loved One Buried on Hart Island

The Department has created a searchable database of Hart Island burial records dating back to 1977, which enables members of the public to determine if a loved is buried on the island. Records dated before 1977 are preserved by the New York City Municipal Archives, a division of the New York City Department of Records and Information Services. Some records were destroyed in a fire in the 1970s, and location information cannot be determined for these interments. The searchable database is available for public access to search for individuals by name, age, birth date, date of death, or by the assigned Medical Examiner number. The Medical Examiner number may be obtained through the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner of New York City.

Please click the following link to access the Hart Island searchable database to determine if your loved one has been interred on Hart Island. If you know the plot number of your loved one, you can locate them on the Island by referencing a Map of Hart Island burial locations (Hart Island Map 1, Hart Island Map 2).

If you need more information about an individual record or assistance locating a record, please call the Office of Burials Services – Hart Island Division at 929-221-6860 or email hartisland@hra.nyc.gov. Personally identifying information from records of fetal remains have been redacted in order to protect the personal privacy of family members. Any family member seeking information on fetal remains that may have been buried on Hart Island should call the Office.

Disinterment

Upon confirming that a loved one is buried on Hart Island, families may make arrangements with a licensed funeral home to request a disinterment for the purposes of reburial elsewhere, such as in a private cemetery or cremation. HRA does not charge a fee to locate, disinter and release the remains of the deceased to the authorized funeral home. Disinterments are conditioned on the recoverability of the remains.

To arrange for relocation and reburial or cremation of your loved one, you must contact a licensed funeral director, who will charge a fee for services. The funeral director will help with obtaining a disinterment permit from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene's Office of Vital Records. Once a permit is granted, the funeral director must mail the following documents to the Human Resources Administration's Office of Burial Services:

  1. The original Disinterment Permit.
  2. A formal written request for disinterment on letterhead from a licensed funeral home.

The address to mail these two (2) documents is:

New York City Human Resources Administration
Office of Burial Services – Hart Island Division
150 Greenwich Street
43rd Floor
New York, NY 10007

The Office of Burial Services will schedule the disinterment and coordinate with the funeral home for transfer of the remains. For more information, please contact the Office of Burial Services by calling 929-221--6860 or by email at hartisland@hra.nyc.gov.

Financial assistance may be available for costs associated with the reburial or cremation of low income decedents after disinterment from Hart Island. For more information please visit the Office of Burial Services.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who is buried on Hart Island?

Individuals are buried on Hart Island because their identity is unknown at the time of their death and a next of kin could not be located to arrange for burial services, because the individual's family could not afford burial costs, or because the individual's family preferred that their loved one be buried on Hart Island. The burial location of each individual is recorded and maintained in the Hart Island database.

Can I get help paying for a burial or cremation of a loved one who passed away ?

Yes. Burial assistance is available to help pay for funeral expenses/burials/cremations of eligible low-income New Yorkers. Applications, along with our documents, will be reviewed by the HRA Office of Burial Services to see if eligibility criteria for a burial allowance are met. To learn more about burial assistance and apply for a burial allowance, visit HRA's Office of Burial Services, website, email BurialServices@hra.nyc.gov, or call 929-252-7731 during regular business hours. If you call outside of regular business hours, please leave a message and your call will be returned the next business day. You may also visit the Office of Burial Services in person at:

HRA Office of Burial Services
33-28 Northern Blvd., 3rd Floor
Long Island City, NY 11101

Who are considered chosen family members? Does NYC Parks allow chosen family to visit?

Chosen families are non-biological kinship bonds, whether legally recognized or not, deliberately chosen for the purpose of mutual support and love. Chosen family members have the same access to Hart Island as biological family members.

I am not a relative but would like to visit the gravesite of a close friend or co-worker. Am I eligible for a gravesite visit?

Individuals with close personal ties to a specific decedent are eligible for gravesite visits, however, visits for family members, chosen family members, and partners are prioritized. To discuss individual visits, please contact hart.island@parks.nyc.gov or by calling 212-360-3428.

How many visitors sign up to visit Hart Island?

Reservations to visit Hart Island may be scheduled by emailing hart.island@parks.nyc.gov, or by submitting a Visit Request Form online .

How many people can visit Hart Island during a visitation period?

NYC Parks works to accommodate each request submitted for a visit to Hart Island. In order to allow for safe social distancing, a maximum of 15 visitors can be accommodated for each gravesite visitation period.

Can I take personal items on a gravesite visit?

Visitors are permitted to leave the following mementos at gravesites: flowers without vases, small stuffed animals, photographs, prayer cards, small flags, and blankets. When requesting a visit, requestors may seek permission to bring other mementos, which will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Can I take pictures while I'm on Hart Island?

Film and photography while on Hart Island are prohibited without the express permission of NYC Parks.

I'm having trouble determining whether my loved one is buried on Hart Island, who can I contact for help?

You can contact the Office of Burial Services by calling 929-221-6860 or by email at hartisland@hra.nyc.gov.

What happens if my preferred visit day is unavailable?

Visits to Hart Island are scheduled on a first-come-first-served basis. When a visitation period reaches capacity, a waitlist is created for that visitation period. As scheduled visitors notify NYC Parks of a cancellation, Parks reaches out to visitors on the waitlist to notify them that a scheduled visit has become available on their preferred day and add them to the schedule accordingly. Alternately, Parks will offer to schedule the visitors on a later date.

Does NYC Parks charge a fee for visits to Hart Island?

All visits to Hart Island are free of charge and are authorized solely and entirely by NYC Parks. Parks does not work with third-party vendors or outside organizations to schedule or provide visits to Hart Island. All visits to Hart Island should be scheduled directly with Parks.

What is NYC Parks doing to reduce the spread of COVID-19 during visits?

The safety of our staff and visitors is NYC Parks' top priority and several policies have been put in place to ensure visits are safe and respectful. All staff and guests are required to wear a face covering and maintain safe social distance for the duration of the visit and will be sanitized between each visit. If you have any questions or concerns related to the health and safety measures in place for gravesite visits, please contact NYC Parks by emailing hart.island@parks.nyc.gov.

For the Media

Media visits are currently suspended due to the COVID-19 Pandemic.