Hart Island’s Last Fight – The New York Times


The red-brick archive storage building, built around 1910 opposite a U-shaped correctional house for young men that is also still standing, “is fit for repair and can be put into use,” the report observes. “With a footprint of approximately 35 feet by 35 feet, the building is not complicated to repair.”

The report recommended that the building, which has a shallow pyramid roof with tall slatted windows, be secured by fencing it off rather than razing it, and city engineers rated its “ease of restoration” as “Moderate to good”. But the structure now needs to be leveled.

The 2020 report also described a one-story red brick pumping station, dating from the 1920s or so, as “viable for storage,” but it still recommended demolition.

The red brick and stone Catholic chapel, built by Catholic charities around 1935, “is still in surprisingly good condition” despite the removal of its bell and stained glass windows, a guide published in 2018 by the Council noted. historic districts. , a city-wide preservation group. In 2020, engineers from the Buildings Department called the church’s “ease of restoration” “moderate,” but nonetheless recommended that it be razed.

The cornerstone of the chapel, at the time of its construction the only separate prison building in the United States set aside for Catholic services, was laid in 1931 by the rector of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in a ceremony at which were attended by Protestant and Jewish clergymen, prominent citizens and around 1,000 prisoners. The place of worship replaced the wooden chapels that had been built on the island by Catholic, Episcopal and Hebrew organizations, and it was used by all faiths.

In the 1950s, the chapel was used by homeless people living in a rehabilitation center on Hart Island, but the religious building was abandoned in 1966, after the island’s hospice closed. Under the city’s current interim order, the chapel will be bulldozed.

The 1885 pavilion was built as a women’s asylum with 300 patients.

“Some of the buildings used as dormitories for madmen” on Hart Island, concluded an 1890 grand jury, “are a disgrace to civilization.”

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