The Department of Correction (DOC) maintains and operates New York City’s public burial ground on Hart Island. It is commonly called Potter's Field. Hart Island is located in the Long Island Sound, near City Island in the Bronx.

If a person dies in New York City and the body is not claimed, or if the person cannot be identified by the Medical Examiner's Office, he or she will be buried at the City Cemetery.

You can get information about Hart Island, including how to arrange a visit.  You can also search online burial records to see if someone has been buried on Hart Island.

Online

Learn more about Hart Island Cemetery.

Use the Hart Island Lookup Service.

By Phone

  • Agency: Department of Correction
  • Division: Hart Island Information Line
  • Phone Number: (718) 546-0911
  • Business Hours: Monday - Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM

If someone was buried at Hart Island, their death certificate will say "City Burial" or "Hart Island" in the burial information.

You can get a copy of a death certificate from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or from the City's Municipal Archives, depending on the year of death.

The records available online only have information for burials after 1976.

To remove or disinter a body from the City Cemetery, you must first contact a licensed funeral director. The director will help you obtain a Disinterment Permit from the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene Office of Vital Records. Disinterment can only be requested for people buried after 1978, as location records for earlier burials are not available. 

Once you have the permit, the following documents must be sent to the Department of Correction:

  • A copy of the death certificate;
  • The original Disinterment Permit; and
  • A formal request for disinterment on letterhead from a licensed funeral home.

The documents must be mailed to:

Warden
Department of Correction
1307 Hazen Street
East Elmhurst, NY 11370