Posts Tagged ‘New York in 1985’

The lonely grave of a child who died of AIDS

May 14, 2012

Since 1869, more than 800,000 paupers and unknowns have been buried on Hart Island.

This slip of land in the East River is New York’s Potter’s Field, where inmates from nearby Rikers Island place coffins in mass plots topped by granite markers.

Yet there’s one solitary plot, dated 1985, that’s especially heartbreaking: it’s the final resting place of the first child to die of AIDS whose body was brought to Hart Island.

Melinda Hunt, vice president of the Hart Island Project, describes how she and a photographer discovered the plot after visiting the island in 1992:

“Buried deep in the wooded area, however, there was one marker with an unusual number, ‘SC-B1, 1985,’” writes Hunt.

“Upon inquiry, we found that the marker belonged to a solitary grave of the first child victim of AIDS to be buried on Hart Island. Extra precautions were taken to bury the child in a separate and deeper grave.”

“This AIDS grave seemed like a ‘tomb to an unknown child.’ It came to represent all children who were yet to die of AIDS as well as child victims of earlier epidemics.”

This photo of the granite grave marker comes from the Hart Island Project website.

Who was this child—and what circumstances made a lonely patch of Hart Island his or her final resting place? Records must exist somewhere.

[Photo at right: ©1991 Fred Conrad/The New York Times. It was reprinted in 2006.]

Plans for New York that never came to pass

October 14, 2011

Developers are always coming up with shiny new proposals for a smarter, better, more future-focused city.

Thanks to the city’s bureaucracy, financial downturns, as well as the sheer ridiculousness of some of these ideas, most never seem to get past the sketch stage.

But it’s fun to see what could have been—like this 130-story telescope-looking structure, one of 11 proposals received by the city in 1985 to redevelop the site of the Coliseum at Columbus Circle.

Popular Science‘s very cool PopSci blog has a great writeup on it, based on their original 1985 article about the tower.

Of course, the Coliseum did get the boot, replaced by the less rocketship-like Time Warner Center in 2003.

I really like the look of this Art Deco cityscape sketch. But for the Lower East Side? I’m glad it didn’t happen.

This was the original design of the Chrystie-Forsyth Parkway, a four-lane sunken drive between Chrystie and Forsyth Streets from Houston Street to the Manhattan Bridge.

Bridges built over the parkway would accommodate traffic. Skyscrapers and high-rises would replace tenements.

Dreamed up in 1931, Mayor Jimmy Walker disregarded it and opened Sara Roosevelt Park here instead.


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