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Willets Point, NY: Iron Triangle History

personal injury attorney in willets point ny

The personal injury attorneys in Willets Point, NY at Banville Law offer this look into the past of the Iron Triangle.

Willets Point, NY

Located within Corona in the borough of Queens, New York is the industrial neighborhood of Willets Point. Also known as the Iron Triangle, this forgotten town is directly across from the Citi Field stadium where the Mets play.

History of the Iron Triangle

The area, named after the Willets Point Boulevard, runs north past the west side of Flushing Creek and sits near the LaGuardia Airport. The Willet family were Quakers that settled in Long Island and were originally from Wales. They bought the land, located in the northeastern section of Queens, in 1929. The government purchased the land from the Willets in 1857 to build Fort at Willets Point, the present-day Fort Totten. Construction on the fort began in 1864 and, over the years, became downgraded to just a medical care facility. The fort would become home to the following:

  • 1865-1901 Engineer School of Application
  • 1901 Eastern Artillery District Headquarters
  • 1921 Electric Mines and Army School of Submarine Defense
  • 1941-1944 Anti-Aircraft Artillery Headquarter
  • 1944 North Atlantic Wing of the Air Transportation Command
  • 1949 New York-New Jersey Sub-Area Command Headquarters
  • 1954 First Region ARADCOM for the Nike Anti-Ballistic Missile Defense System
  • 1974 U.S. Army Reserve Post

Location

Since the war, the exact location change, and the fort resides northeast of the triangle-shaped area now known to be Willets Point. The neighborhood, made up of 60 acres, become home to many mechanic shops and automobile junkyards. Unfortunately, the infrastructure of the area was lacking and became run down quickly. Sewers were never installed in the area, and it lacked proper drainage causing the runoff of many pollutants into Flushing Creek.

Redevelopment

At one point, Robert Moses, the mastermind that initiated urban renewal, attempted to combine the Willets Point area with Flushing Meadows-Corona Park but was met with dissent from the residents. Residents hired the assistance of an attorney to resist his desire to redesign the area for the rich that would lead to the evictions of many.

In 1964 the Shea Stadium was built and became home to the New York Jets. Under the New York City Mayor, Michael Bloomberg, Citi Field replaced the old stadium in 2009 and is used today. Since then, there were multiple plans for removing the industrial sites and bringing in mixed-use developments that could include the following upgrades:

  • a convention center
  • 5,500 housing units
  • retail space
  • a school
  • office spaces
  • a Community Facility
  • a mall

The property owners attempted to save the area through litigation, but many sold their property to the city. The last businesses would sell or move to the neighboring Hunts Point in the Bronx by the end of 2016. Many lawsuits have stalled both the final planning and the rebuilding of the area, but demolition has wiped out most traces of industrial history.

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Laurence P. Banville
Date Published: April 27, 2021
Laurence P. Banville is the managing partner of Banville Law. As an experienced personal injury attorney, Mr. Banville helps clients recover compensation from those responsible for his clients' injuries. Our firm is located in New York City, serving clients from the five boroughs: Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, The Bronx, and Staten Island.
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