Willets Point, Long Island
Willets Point is known locally as the Iron Triangle and a neighborhood of Flushing, in the New York City Borough of Queens with no sidewalks and only one resident as of 2007. The area is bounded by Northern Boulevard to the north, 126th Street and Shea Stadium to the west, Roosevelt Avenue to the south and the Flushing River to the east.
The area has a unique history and recently its fate was complicated when it became a potential site of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The peninsula once again found its future full of potential and uncertainty. Willets Point takes its name from Willets Point Boulevard, which bisects the peninsula from Roosevelt Avenue to Northern Boulevard. The original Willets Point is the area known as Fort Totten which was an early 19th Century harbor defense post. It was named after Charles Willet, a nurseryman who bought the land in 1832.
Willets Point Boulevard was meant to be a grand avenue, like Broadway in Manhattan or the Grand Concourse in the Bronx running continuously from Flushing Meadows to Fort Totten. In early June, 2005, after suffering a defeat in his quest to build a stadium on the West Side of Manhattan, Mayor Bloomberg announced plans to build a new stadium for the New York Mets in Flushing, Queens, adjacent to Shea stadium. He was planning also to redevelop the polluted 160-acre industrial area between Shea Stadium and Flushing to become the peninsula once again as “New York City’s next great neighborhood” and the city’s “first green community”. The new neighborhood including a new school would rise across the street from the site where the New York Mets are building their new stadium, CitiField. This will include existing contaminated land will be cleaned up, the new community will be transit-oriented because it’s on the Number 7 line, and maximum use will be made of energy efficient and other environmentally friendly building technologies.
Willets Point is targeted to 5,500 housing units, a hotel and convention center, a million square feet of retail and 500,000 square feet of office space in an area that now has 225 businesses and employs some 1,800 workers and improve the environmental quality of the neighborhood. Willets Point has also a large concentration of auto repair and service businesses, the largest distributor of Indian foods in the U.S., and several waste transfer facilities. A section of the area lacks public sewers, which the city has neglected to install despite repeated requests by business owners. The Bloomberg administration’s plan is only the latest of a long series of proposals to revitalize Willets Point.