- Willets Point, Queens
Willets Point, also known locally as the Iron Triangle, is the name currently applied to a neighborhood of Corona, in the
New York Cityborough of Queens. It has no sidewalks or sewers, and as of 2007 only one resident. [cite web
accessdate = 2007-05-12
title = Mayor: Development plan for 60 acre site near new Mets stadium
author Karen Matthews
publisher= Metro New York] It is bounded by
Northern Boulevardto the north, 126th Street and Shea Stadiumto the west, Roosevelt Avenueto the south and the Flushing Riverto the east. The IRT 7 Train stops near the southwest corner of the "Triangle", at Roosevelt Avenue at 126 Street near Corona Yard. The neighborhood is part of Queens Community Board 7. [ [http://www.nyc.gov/html/cau/html/cb/cb_queens.shtml Queens Community Boards] , New York City. Accessed September 3, 2007.]
The area was named after that portion of Willets Point Boulevard lying west of Flushing Creek, which flows northward past the area. Willets Point Boulevard once crossed a bridge (no longer in existence) over Flushing Creek and continued to the cape of the same name at the confluence of the
East Riverand Long Island Sound. The true Willets Point is the site of Fort Totten near Bayside, but in the beginning of the 21st century it became common to apply the name "Willets Point" (derived from the street, rather than the geographical feature) to this area.
The area is very industrial and is filled with auto repair shops, scrap yards, waste processing sites, and similar small businesses. In times of severe rain, flooding is common. A recent
Hunter Collegestudy found that Willets Point was a "unique regional destination" for auto parts and repairs. [Cite web
title = Melting the Iron Triangle
last = Murphy
first = Jarrett
accessdate = 2007-05-13
url = http://www.villagevoice.com/news/0624,murphy,73505,5.html
publisher = Village Voice]
It was also the location for a proposed stadium for the
2012 Summer Olympicsand press center, which would have replaced Shea Stadiumand the car junkyards; however, New York City lost its Olympic bid. Nonetheless, a new baseball stadium is under construction on a slightly different site for the New York Metsthat is named Citi Field.
Plans are underway to replace the scrapyards and industrial sites with a sustainable and affordable mixed-use development including a
convention centerand 5,500 units of housing. On May 1, 2007, Mayor Michael Bloombergannounced new plans for urban renewalin the area, calling Willets Point "another euphemism for blight." The plans include environmental clean-up and business relocation. [cite news
first = Karla
last = Schuster
title = All signs 'Point' to makeover
AM New York
publisher = Tribune New York Newspaper Holdings, LLC
page = 04
accessdate = 2007-05-12
quote = Calling Willets Point "another euphemism for blight," Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday unveiled an ambitious urban renewal plan for the gritty, industrial area near Shea Stadium that would include a major environmental cleanup and a vigorous business relocation plan. ]
On April 9, 2008, the Willets Point Industry and Realty Association (WPIRA), a group of the 10 largest business and land owners in Willets Point, filed a lawsuit against the City of New York seeking a court order requiring the City to provide basic vital infrastructure, including repairs to streets and storm sewers, installation of sanitary sewers, street lights, street signs and other services that the City has withheld for over 40 years. The suit also requests unspecified damages for past neglect. The suit was filed in U.S. Federal District Court, in the Southern District of New York.
On April 21, 2008, 29 members of the
New York City Council-- a majority -- expressed their "adamant opposition" to the proposed Willets Point redevelopment in writing to Robert Leiber, New York City Deputy Mayor for Economic Development. The letter states, "This plan is unacceptable, and we wish to inform you that without significant modifications, we will strongly oppose it, leaving no chance of it moving forward. ... Your decision to push the project forward into ULURP without public discussion indicates to us that you are not serious about ensuring that the project meets the basic standards of public benefit and fairness required for a redevelopment of this magnitude and this level of public investment. As the plan currently stands, it has no chance of surviving the public review process." The New York Daily News reported, "Council Declares Willets Point Dead On Arrival." [Cite web
title = Council Declares Willets Point Dead On Arrival
url = http://www.nydailynews.com/blogs/dailypolitics/2008/04/council-declares-willets-point.html
publisher = NY Daily News]
The "adamant opposition" letter was signed by the following 29 City Council members: Joseph Addabbo, Jr.; Tony Avella; Charles Barron; Leroy C. Comrie; Bill de Blasio; Inez Dickens; Mathieu Eugene; Lewis A. Fidler; James Gennaro; Vincent J. Gentile; Eric N. Gioia; Sara M. Gonzalez; Letitia James; G. Oliver Koppell John Liu; Miguel Martinez; Darlene Mealy; Rosie Mendez; Hiram Monserrate; Annabel Palma; Diana Reyna; Joel Rivera; James Sanders, Jr.; Helen Sears; James Vacca; Albert Vann; David Weprin; Thomas White; David Yassky.
Statements made during a news conference by City Council members who signed the opposition letter were documented on video, and are viewable via two external links below.
On April 24, 2008, Queens elected officials, various union members and many others rallied at a press conference on the steps of New York City Hall. The gathering was in support of having the city move forward with the proposed development of Willets Point. The rally was led by Queensborough President
Helen Marshall. Also in attendance were state senators Frank Padavan and Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly Member Nettie Mayersohn, former Queensborough President Claire Shulmanand Queens Chamber of Commerce President Al Pennisi who spoke about the vital role the development would play in the Queens business community.
“While we must insure that current business owners and employees’ needs are met by the city, the Queens Chamber of Commerce fully supports this project as presented,” Pennisi said. “We must not bow to pressure to alter a plan that conceivably could be the most important in Queens’ history with regard to the borough’s economic vitality.” Reported by the Queens Courier.
The plan was approved by Community Board 7 June 30, 2008 but needs several further approvals before going into effect.
The short stretch of businesses along Northern Boulevard between Willets Point Boulevard and Flushing Creek served as the inspiration for the location of George Wilson's gas station in "The Great Gatsby"; Myrtle Wilson would have been run over by Daisy Buchanan on Northern Boulevard.
The 2007 film Chop Shop was filmed and takes place in this neighborhood.
* [http://www.plannyc.org/project-24-Willets-Point-Development PlanNYC: Willets Point Development]
* [http://www.nolandgrab.org/archives/2007/05/eminent_domaini_27.html noLandGrab]
* [http://current.com/items/87589751_willets_point_behind_the_curbline VIDEO - "Willets Point: Behind the Curbline"]
* [http://PrecisionLegalVideo.com/LawsuitNewsConferencePARTONE.html VIDEO - "Willets Point Lawsuit News Conference, PART ONE" (City Council Members). Pursuant to Wikipedia rules, this link is justified on this article's talk page and may not be removed]
* [http://PrecisionLegalVideo.com/LawsuitNewsConferencePARTTWO.html VIDEO - "Willets Point Lawsuit News Conference, PART TWO" (Attorney; Property and Business Owners). Pursuant to Wikipedia rules, this link is justified on this article's talk page and may not be removed]
* [http://www.wpira.com Willets Point Industry and Realty Association]
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