Ball Field


At one time Hart Island was known as Spectacle Island referring to a land bridge connection north and south areas of the landscape. In the 1880s, the area at the center of Hart Island was filled with New York City garbage. This area was unsuitable for burials because New York State Law does not permit burials in garbage dumps. Following the demolition of Ebbets Field, home of the Brooklyn Dodgers, roughly 600 grandstand seats from were installed on this area of landfill. The ball field was named Kratter Field after its donor Marvin Kratter, the developer who acquired Ebbets Field and donated the seats. On May 26, 1960, the ball field was dedicated for use by inmates of the prison workhouse as well as military personnel stationed on Hart Island. A workhouse team variously named the “All Stars” and the “Wildcats” played against an Army unit stationed at the Nike missile battery on Hart Island. On opening day, The New York Times reported: “A standing-room crowd of 1340 – all but fifty-three of the prisoners on the island – was present.” In 1971, the ball field was the site of a drug-free rock festival held to raise money for Phoenix House, narcotics rehabilitation center located on Hart Island.

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