2019年5月31日 星期五

N.Y. Today: Can an Island Off the Bronx With One Million Graves Become a City Park?

What you need to know for Friday and the weekend.
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Friday, May 31, 2019

New York Today
Can an Island Off the Bronx With One Million Graves Become a City Park?
It's Friday.
Weather: Break out the shades. Today should be mostly sunny, with a high near 80. There is a chance of showers late Saturday afternoon and on Sunday.
Alternate-side parking: In effect until Tuesday, then suspended through Thursday (Eid al-Fitr).
Todd Heisler/The New York Times
New York City has some of the most famous parks in the world, from Central Park to the High Line.
Now city lawmakers have proposed creating a park in a most unlikely place: the island where the city has been burying its indigent in mass graves since the 1800s.
It's called Hart Island: 100 acres of greenery off the coast of the Bronx, with views of Long Island Sound.
But for decades, city officials have kept it off-limits, citing the danger of opening up land long used — and still in use — as the city's public cemetery.
The island falls under the jurisdiction of the city's Department of Corrections, but the City Council held a hearing yesterday on legislation that would transfer control of the property to the Parks Department to be run as a waterfront park accessible by ferry.
Both agencies have long resisted this transfer of jurisdiction, but at the hearing, they expressed a new willingness.
The bill is backed by the Council speaker, Corey Johnson, who recently visited the island and its graves of AIDS victims, which helped stoke his passion for the legislation.
Matt Drury, director of government relations for the Parks Department, said the department would support the transfer once the city curtailed burials there. He said a transition would be a "complicated undertaking," making it "difficult to predict how quickly the transition could occur."
After all, the island has crumbling buildings, wild landscape and a lack of infrastructure, city officials testified.
They described other complications in adapting an island that has served as the city's public cemetery, or potter's field, where homeless, poor, stillborn and other unclaimed bodies are buried in mostly mass, unmarked graves dug by inmates from Rikers Island working for $1 an hour.
Roughly one million people have been buried on Hart Island since 1869. It is still a burial ground for roughly 1,100 unclaimed bodies per year that arrive by ferry for burial in bare wooden coffins and are stacked three high in rows of six, in trenches as long as a football field.
At the hearing, city officials said they would begin exploring alternative burial sites, as Hart Island has space to accommodate only up to 10 more years of burials.
Several Bronx residents called the park idea misguided. But Melinda Hunt, who has long supported opening up the island, said the site should continue to be a burial ground even while serving as a park.
If the bill passes the Council, it would need to be signed into law by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who said in a statement that it was "now time to chart a new course forward for the island."
From The Times
James Nicholas paused to honor his mother, Norma Leree, at one of six monoliths that line the 9/11 Memorial Glade in Lower Manhattan. Ms. Leree died in 2002. James Nicholas paused to honor his mother, Norma Leree, at one of six monoliths that line the 9/11 Memorial Glade in Lower Manhattan. Ms. Leree died in 2002.
Demetrius Freeman for The New York Times
Unsung 9/11 heroes finally get their own memorial.
The Ivy League son, accused of killing his father, unraveled in court.
Nxivm trial: The cult's leader confined a woman in a room for two years for denying him sex, according to testimony.
$95,000 to fix up a studio apartment, but it was all a scam, officials say.
New York's toughest homeless problem: Thousands of people live in the streets. A modest number now accept shelter in "safe havens."
[Want more news from New York and around the region? Check out our full coverage.]
The Mini Crossword: Here is today's puzzle.
What we're reading
McDonald's just opened its biggest New York City location in Times Square. It will soon serve a stroopwafel McFlurry from the Netherlands. [Eater New York]
Teenagers say they're loud on the subway because they're having fun. (Grown-ups just don't understand.) [WNYC]
New Yorkers left behind more than $131,000 in change after going through airport security (of the nearly $1 million left behind nationwide) this past fiscal year. [Daily News]
New York City's drinking water is cleanest in the state, a new report says. [New York Post]
Coming up this weekend
Celebrate the music and dance of the Piedmont and the Appalachians. A concert at the Flushing Town Hall in Queens is preceded by a conversation with the musicians and a dance lesson. 7 p.m. [$16]
Mike Reiss, an Emmy-winning writer for "The Simpsons," gives an illustrated talk at the Cooper Union in Manhattan about his time with the show. 7:30 p.m. [Free]
The Brooklyn Film Festival opens with "Above the Shadows," a supernatural film by Claudia Myers, at the Wythe Hotel. 8 p.m. [$35]
Participate in World Oceans Week with a creek cleanup at Kaiser Park in Brooklyn. Guides from the New York Aquarium will teach about marine wildlife. 8 a.m. [Free]
Explore the catacombs beneath the Basilica of St. Patrick's Cathedral by candlelight. Meet at 32 Prince Street in Manhattan. 5 p.m. [$35]
The Brooklyn Museum celebrates the first day of Pride month with the exhibition "Nobody Promised You Tomorrow: Art 50 Years After Stonewall," as well as music, film and art-making. 5 p.m. [Free]
The annual rose garden weekend at the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx includes live music and experts on hand to answer rose-gardening questions. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. [$28]
How do you tell time without a clock? Why don't bridges collapse? Award-winning children's authors answer questions at Science and Storytime at the N.Y.U. Kimmel Center in Manhattan. 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. [Free]
— Vivian Ewing
Events are subject to change, so double-check before heading out. For more events, see the going-out guides from The Times's culture pages.
And finally: Whitman at 200
Associated Press
"Numberless crowded streets — high growths of iron, slender, strong, light, splendidly uprising toward clear skies."
These lines from Walt Whitman's 1860 poem "Mannahatta" ring true today, 200 years after his birth.
Yes, today is Whitman's 200th birthday, and "Mannahatta" and his other poems will be read at celebrations across New York City, where he lived much of his life.
Whitman is often associated with Brooklyn, having written his famous commuter's ode "Crossing Brooklyn Ferry." He lived on Ryerson Street near Fort Greene Park during the 1850s when his famous collection of poems "Leaves of Grass" was published.
Whitman was born on May 31, 1819, on Long Island, in a location now near — what else — the Walt Whitman Mall. The Walt Whitman Birthplace State Historic Site has programs today and throughout the weekend.
Other events include a festival of Whitman poetry and activities on the Coney Island Boardwalk at West 21st Street, both on Sunday. A Whitman-inspired musical drama, "More or Less I Am," will be at Bryant Park's outdoor Reading Room on Saturday.
Metropolitan Diary: Splitting hairs
Dear Diary:
On a recent visit to my barber of more than 30 years, I had a special request.
"I have a date tonight," I said. "And your job is to make me look pretty."
After 20 minutes of meticulous snipping, he pointed to my image in the mirror.
"How's that?" he asked.
"The hair looks fine" I said. "But what about my face?"
He looked at me.
"I'm a barber," he said, "not a magician."
— Arthur Schaffer
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