Storms and tides have unearthed the bones of New Yorkers who have been unceremoniously buried on a tiny island for the past 150 years.
Hart Island has long served as the mass graveyard for the dead and forgotten and holds an estimated one million bodies.
However 174 of human bones have become exposed from their resting place due to severe weather conditions and erosion on the island, that sees skulls, femurs and collarbones peak out from the ground.
New York officials have found 174 human bones exposed on Hart Island, where the city's unnamed, unclaimed, and sick have been buried for the past 150 years, white specks in the earth above mark exposed bonesiPhone transfer software
A closer look reveals femurs jutting out from layers beneath the earth. The island suffers erosion due to severe weather and storms that have hit the island
Small pipes sticking up from the ground mark mass graves of 150 people on Hart Island
Views of high-rise buildings in the Bronx can be seen in the distance from the island. On the left what is believed to be a Civil War era cistern is revealed, after it was unearthed in Hurricane Sandy storms
Around one million people are estimated to be buried on the island. But there no headstones or markers for them, save for a wooden and stone cross pictured above
'Skeletal remains are literally just coming out of the earth,' Melinda Hunt of the Hart Island Project told WCBS.
'Entire skeletons are sort of falling out of the hill onto the beach, and then they're washed away with the tide,' Hunt, who has been working on the project since 1991 added.
Although the 101-acre island has suffered erosion for years, the city is finally responding to calls for repairs.
On Monday hundreds of human bones were found exposed on the island including six skulls, six jawbones, 31 leg bones and 16 pelvises.
Although millions are buried there, Hart Island is not like other cemeteries.
The island was first purchased by the city of New York in 1868 as a workhouse for wayward boys and a potter's field.
Over the decades the island has housed a Civil War prison, an asylum, a tuberculosis hospital, a jail and a missile base, as it continually worked as burial ground.
There are no head stones or manicured lawns on the island. Instead bodies are placed into pine boxes - babies into shoe boxes - and are laid to rest in stacks on top of each other in massive trenches dug out by prisoners.
Most of the dead are people with no family or money. Many are the unclaimed dead left in New York City morgues.
'These are New Yorkers,' City Council member Mark Levine said of the remains.
'These are human beings who were largely marginalized and forgotten in life, they were people who died homeless or destitute, victims of contagious disease, the AIDS crisis. And we're victimizing them again in their final resting place,' he added.
A team of forensic anthropologists are now cataloging the remains and placing red flags to mark exposed spots on the island.
Hart Island has served as a public grave for 150 years and is located off the Long Island Sound
Heavy erosion can be seen along the coast of Hart Island in New York where on Monday city