First-person diaries, sound portraits, and hidden chapters of history from Peabody Award-winning producer Joe Richman and the Radio Diaries team. From teenagers to octogenarians, prisoners to prison guards, bra saleswomen to lighthouse keepers. The extraordinary stories of ordinary life. Radio Diaries is a proud member of Radiotopia, from PRX. Learn more at radiotopia.fm.
A few years ago, a young man who called himself Stephen became a fixture in Manhattan’s Riverside Park. Locals started noticing him sitting on the same park bench day after day. He said little and asked for nothing.
When Stephen’s body was found in 2017, the police were unable to identify him, and he was buried on Hart Island. Then, one day, a woman who knew him from the park stumbled upon his true identity, and his backstory came to light.
This is the first episode in our new series The Unmarked Graveyard, untangling mysteries from America’s largest public cemetery. Each week, we’re bringing you stories of how people ended up on Hart Island, the lives they lived and the people they left behind.