Cloves Lakes Park. Royal Oaks. The Next Potter's Field... Not Quite. Image Credit- StatenIslander.Org

HOAX: NYC NOT Planning To Bury COVID-19 Dead In Your Local Park!

Stop scaring New Yorkers! Earlier today, Manhattan Democrat Mark D. Levine, City Council health committee chairman, took to twitter to inform NYC that some COVID-19 casualties may be temporarily buried in a city park. Which park? He doesn’t say.

Could it be Central Park? Tottenville Park? Westerleigh Park? We just don’t know.

You read that right. Why share this with the public, especially when there is no plan to “start” doing this? Aren’t New Yorkers afraid and psychologically tormented enough, with so many ill, millions out of work, and some having lost family members or friends falling ill to COVID-19?

Hart Island. Image Courtesy of Alphabet, Inc. U.S. Navy

Hart Island. Image Courtesy of Alphabet, Inc. U.S. Navy

While it is true that NYC has contingency plans that include using local parks for temporary burials in times of extreme emergency, it is not at all true that this is necessary right now, or that the city is at a point where the system is so overburdened that this last-resort plan has been called into action.

Mayor de Blasio publicly countered this statement today at a press conference at the Brooklyn Navy Yard:

“We may well be dealing with temporary burials so we can deal with each family later…obviously the place we have used historically is Hart Island.”

Hart Island. Ariel View Image Courtesy of Alphabet, Inc. U.S. Navy

Hart Island. Ariel View Image Courtesy of Alphabet, Inc. U.S. Navy

Hart Island is already used by the city to bury those indignant individuals who die in city hospitals or city housing, as well as homeless individuals and those with no next-of-kin. The island is far from a park.

Part of the Pelham Islands archipelago, Hart Island is East of the Bronx in the the Long Island Sound. It’s been used exclusively as the city’s potter’s field since 1977.

Hart Island. Image Credit- Cisc1970. License By CC 2.0

Hart Island. Image Credit- Cisc1970. License By CC 2.0

The island has served many other municipal functions, including being the home to a homeless shelter, drug rehab center, tuberculosis sanatorium, and more, but its use for burials dates to the American Civil war, when twenty Union Army soldiers were buried there.

City Council health committee chairman Levine also tweeted, “It will be done in a dignified, orderly — and temporary — manner. But it will be tough for NYers to take.”

Don’t worry; the Clove Lakes ballfield isn’t going to be ripped up tomorrow. Nor will the Silver Lake Golf Course greens be excised and excavated.

These contingency plans are for situations that NYC not ever had to deal with involving massive numbers of deaths in a short period of time.

Cloves Lakes Park. Royal Oaks. The Next Potter's Field... Not Quite. Image Credit- StatenIslander.Org

Cloves Lakes Park. Royal Oaks. The Next Potter’s Field… Not Quite. Image Credit- StatenIslander.Org

Situations that could require parks in each borough being used for temporary burials include biological attacks, earthquakes, chemical spills, extensive coastal flooding, and a pandemic with a far more virulent organism than COVID-19, such as a virus like the 1918 flu, which killed over 30,000 New Yorkers.

Pier and Ferry to Hart Island. Image Credit- Wiki-pedia. License By CC 2.0

Pier and Ferry to Hart Island. Image Credit- Wiki-pedia. License By CC 2.0

Freddi Goldstein, one of Mayor de Blasio’s representatives, restored sanity tot he discussion with, “We are NOT currently planning to use local parks as burial grounds…We are exploring using Hart Island for temporary burials, if the need grows.”

Parks for field hospitals? Maybe. Parks as burial grounds? Not this time, thankfully.

Update: In case you were still unsure, Mayor de Blasio had this to say to NY1 reporters later Monday evening, after this piece was published earlier in the day:

“There will never, ever be anything like quote-unquote mass graves or mass interment in New York City…ever.”

“If…we ever had to get to the point of a temporary burial, it would be individual by individual so that families could reclaim their loved ones when the crisis was over.”

10 Comments

  • Avatar STOP THE LIES says:

    That’s some f***** up s***!

    I think they don’t like ppl going out to the parks so they said all that.

    I hate Deblaisio but this time he’s right.

  • Avatar A Reader In 10306 says:

    Good job. You guys (and gals) are going to end up being the most imitated news org around. I’d be willing to bet on that.

    Keep up the awesome work!

  • The text below is from Smithsonian Mag article about people buried under London’s streets and sidewalks. Spooky but a good read.

    ‘And when people died in unimaginable numbers, as they did in during the plague years – in 1348, the Black Death killed around 40,000 people within months – parish cemeteries became dangerously crowded. The response was mass burial grounds in fields outside the city walls, but the city soon swallowed these, too.

    This history of London, punctuated by the ebb and flow of populations, means that the physical remains of countless Londoners sit just there, under the pavements.’

  • Avatar Silver Lake Golf Course *IS ALREADY* a graveyard!!! says:

    umm..true fact: Silver Lake Golf Course *IS ALREADY* a graveyard!!!

    This is nothing new. In times of extreme crisis, and totally overburdened health care and funerary services, this is not an extreme option. It is more like the ONLY option, especially with scarce urban open space.

    Next time you putt on the greens at Silver Lake, know you’re treading on the dead. So, step lightly!

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  • Avatar Junebug says:

    Why share this with the public, especially when there is no plan to “start” doing this?

    I ask myself the same. Especially if its out of the playbook for real horrorshow situations we hope to never deal with. I mean I get it. If there was some incredibly bad crisis where tens of ppl die lets say on SI then there would be no choice. But as bad as CV-19 is, it’s not that.

  • Avatar T. Kennedy says:

    Hart Island is not even close to a park.

    Any plan to bury the dead in local parks would have to be a situation where massive deaths occur in a short time.

    For COVID19 they have refrigerated trailers. Imagine something happening so suddenly and that’s not possible.

    That de Blasio underling should be fired.

    • Avatar DISGUSTED IN ANNADALE says:

      Was he ever fired? Or even reprimanded? The pause is not easy. making lives harder with nonsense tweets should get the guy fired in a normal world.

  • Avatar Mason Williams says:

    Cree-py! hen I first read this on another news site I was like W.T.F.

    I also thought it was a plan to keep ppl out of the parks. But I’m glad it’s fake bc it wud be really tragic to turn a park into a graveyard even temporarily.

  • Avatar DISGUSTED IN ANNADALE says:

    DISGUSTING. Just fear mongering! Why can’t they just tell it to us straight. Corona virus is bad news. Why BS us tho? There’s just no reason.

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