It is the bleakest part of Queens with arguably the brightest prospects of anywhere in the city, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and economic experts eyeing Willets Point. Since receiving proposals for developing the 200-acre site behind Shea Stadium, the future of Willets Point is just as unclear as the streets and sidewalks that define the insular world dubbed the Iron Triangle.
2 June 1996, New York Times, "Where Strange Dogs Roam and Cars Go to Die" by Constance L. Hays, City section 13, pg. 4:
Chart: ''FACT-FINDING: One or Two Things About Willets Point''
Named for: A member of the Willet family, 19th-century settlers in
Nickname: The Iron Triangle, a reference to the scrap-metal businesses in the neighborhood.
Population: None, according to the 1990 census. But Joseph Ardizzone, a security instructor, lives in the two-story house where he was born at 126-96 Willets Point Boulevard. He says he has a neighbor, John Baccello, who is out of town most of the year, and estimates that about 100 people live clandestinely in the junkyards.
Employment: The Department of City Planning says 69 registered
businesses employed 1,817 people in 1989, the latest figures
available. Officers of the Willets Point Property Owners Association
estimate that there are between 2,000 and 3,000 people working there now.
Other industries besides auto parts and auto repair: Steel fabricating, wholesale food packaging and preparation, construction.
ZIP code: 11368.
1 March 2001, New York Daily News, pg. 1:
Su was among nearly 200 people carrying signs in English and Chinese who gathered in the "Iron Triangle" between Shea Stadium and the Flushing River to protest the impending opening of the waste station there.
15 January 2002, New York Daily News, pg. 1:
Locating housing in Willets Point for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games, if they are held in New York City, which would help create affordable housing in the so-called Iron Triangle now dominated by auto repair businesses.
4 March 2004, New York Times, "Iron Triangle in Queens Is an Eyesore to Sme but a Livelihood to Others" by Corey Kilgannon, pg. B1:
The Iron Triangle, a 13-block area between Shea Stadium and the Flushing River in Queens, is the largest single stretch of junkyards in New York City, with more than 100 auto salvage yards, repair garages and automotive shops. Wedged amid bustling commercial areas in Corona and Flushing, the triangle is an auto salvage theme park.
Here, business bustles against a backdrop of stacked, crumpled cars and a slum landscape. The streets are unpaved and lined with tire-change joints, hubcap purveyors, muffler shops, windshield installers and rim retailers. There are brake and transmission specialists, and auto body garages. The area goes back many decades, since parts purveyors first set up on these ash heaps that Fitzgerald mentioned in ''The Great Gatsby.''
But the Iron Triangle's days may soon be over. Under a plan to revitalize parts of downtown Flushing, the city plans to condemn the Iron Triangle and shut its junkyards. The land, bounded by 126th Street, Willets Point Boulevard and Northern Boulevard, would be bought for a fixed price under eminent domain laws.
29 May 2005, New York Times, City section, pg. 1:
A close look at the model's depiction of Willets Point, on the northeastern edge of the park, shows a space that is mostly empty in the immensely crowded borough. But this is no park. This is the Iron Triangle, a desolate, 13-block peninsula where a gritty collection of small businesses eke out a living with intermittent electricity, unpaved roads and long-broken sewer mains.
I remember this Iron Triangle (Willets Point). This is the place where many car repair shops are scattered. I remember one time I brought my car here to have a brake repair and they made my car back to normal.