City Council approved the $3 billion Willets Point Redevelopment Plan last month, paving the way for a giant retail mall to be constructed next to Citi Field. But the land that's to be redeveloped is largely occupied by an swath of auto body and repair shops known as the Iron Triangle. Over the summer, photographer Nathan Kensinger visited the site and talked with the business owners that the city is working to relocate. More than 1,000 people are employed in the area, but it looks nothing like the industrial commercial sections in other parts of the city. Nick Carr of Scouting NY recently found himself in the Triangle for the first time, and in his latest post, he describes the scene as "surreal" and "apocalyptic."
There are no sidewalks. There are no stoplights or street signs. There are no sewer grates or manhole covers (because there are no sewers). It doesn't take long before any sense of New York City completely disappears, and you begin to feel like you've somehow been transported to a strange apocalyptic world of tin shacks and ramshackle garages.
The Iron Triangle, which Carr says the city stopped servicing long ago (even though the city owns all of the property) sits across the street from Citi Field.
This house, Carr notes, is " the only one of its kind in the neighborhood, and is home to the one lone resident of Willets Point, Joseph Ardizzone, who has lived here since he was born in 1932." Carr ends his post with a sentiment that will likely resonate with a lot of New Yorkers who've grown tired of seeing the city glossed over with new, glassy developments:
I'm fascinated by organic neighborhoods that somehow manage to survive despite the gentrification of the city, and I'm not sure there's a better example of this than Willets Point. Run-down, polluted, forgotten, and undervaluing its land, a place like Willets Point is the complete antithesis of everything New York has become today. And so the bulldozers will inevitably come in, and bland apartment buildings will go up, and a new world will be created in the most inorganic way possible. I'm not saying it's a reason to save it. It's just too bad that the alternative sorta sucks too.· Visiting The Apocalypse (in Queens) [Scouting NY]
· Willets Point Business Owners Await City's $3B Redevelopment [Curbed]
· Willets Point coverage [Curbed]