3. Hart Island could be more ecumenical

Given the current and past diversity of New York, it’s certain that there’s a great many religious traditions represented among the people buried on Hart Island. For the most part there’s little religious symbolism (grave sites are marked with a plain white marker, with each marker indicating the burial site of 150 people), but the symbols that exist are exclusively Christian ones. Right now people visiting loved ones can bring a clergy member of their choice, but the dead who receive visitors represent a very small portion of the between 750,000 and a million people buried on Hart Island. With better access would come more people of more faiths, and likely more attention paid to the religious traditions of the non-Christians who are buried on the island.

This isn’t to say the Department of Correction isn’t supportive of religious diversity when it comes to Hart Island. They are “very open” to having more services of different religions, and in fact one of the corrections officers who accompanied us on our trip had the Coexist symbol tattooed on his arm.