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Hart Island: Discovery of an Unknown Territory

4.2 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-3931141905
ISBN-10: 393114190X
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Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

Destined to land close to each other in a library collection, these two books are so different they might be describing two worlds, not one city. Rajs shoots his New York as if he were on an assignment for National Geographic. His city is rich in polychrome power. It is so lovingly composed that to a native New Yorker, it looks like somewhere else. The dazzle that Rajs captures is not in daily routine but in the wonder of photography that builds glory through mastery of the medium by aiming at places, moments, and urban majesty. Hamill provides a fine opening essay that is long on history, careful about nostalgia, and realistic about the ups and downs of New York City. No glistening monument to human industry, Hart Island in New York Harbor has supported a cemetery, a charity hospital for women, an insane asylum, a jail, and now a cemetery again. Artists Hund and Sternfeld show it to be a secret place?a small island full of common graves, long trenches filled with pine boxes of forgotten dead?and in the process throw a meteor at people who think they know New York. Their photographs are generally brown and gray, visions of a lonely place in a lonely winter. The labor pool for the death detail is a cadre of prisoners from the city's jail at Riker's Island. These tough urban men seem softened by their work, by the finalization their digging brings to lives that never really got started. No single part of this book seems masterly?not Hunt's introductory essay, not the straightforward photographs under heavy clouds, not the images of crudely marked coffins large and small. But as a carefully collected volume, it is a moving and memorable portrayal of a secret place crammed with anonymous New Yorkers. Both books are recommended.?David Bryant, New Canaan P.L., CT
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Scalo Publishers (November 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 393114190X
  • ISBN-13: 978-3931141905
  • Product Dimensions: 9.8 x 11.2 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,884,056 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

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Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
If I was a better writer I would find better words than haunting, beautiful and sublime for this incredible book. If I could, I would PAY people to read it. (On the condition that they give me the money back if they agree that it's as good as I say it is!) It gives a lovely, painful and unforgetable look at how forgetable we can be. The shots of the bleachers from Ebbets Field! Broke my heart.
I can't stop looking at these images.
I can't stop trying to read the records of the people buried there that surround the photographs in the front.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book is the last time a photographer and an artist were able to gain access to Hart Island with permission of the Department of Correction. It changed visitation policy for families who can now visit.

However, the press are now totally banned. Many of fine Victorian Era institutional buildings are being dismantled without landmark evaluation. A Federal Army Civil War era stable sits waiting to be recognized.
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Format: Hardcover
I want to be buried on Hart Island and cannot. So, I have to settle for the next best thing. The photography is outstanding and transports me right into each picture. The book is a fine historical tribute to all of the islands that surround Manhattan and have made it the city it is.
1 Comment 10 of 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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This book is a haunting, eerie photo essay on one of the most unique locations in our nation. It defines the very essence of "so close, but so far away" -- If you are interested in books about urban exploration, this book is for you. If you are interested in the plight of New York City's poor, this book is for you. If you are interested in the history of New York City, this book is for you. It's a wonderful piece of art by any measure.
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Format: Hardcover
Why is it so expensive? How is anyone supposed to read it if it is so good? I am disappointed
5 Comments 2 of 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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