Place Category: Parks and Playgrounds
Private Edward F. Gordon, a native of Long Island City who grew up at 44 Sherman Place, served in the United States Army as a member of Company C of the 165th Infantry. He was killed in action in World War I on July 30, 1918. This small triangle, which lies at the intersection of Vernon Boulevard, 44th Drive, and 10th Street, is named in his honor.
For several years, the jurisdiction of this property was in dispute. In July of 1911, the Brooklyn/Queens Department of Parks separated and the newly founded Queens Department of Parks emerged. The new Queens Commissioner of Parks, Walter G. Eliot, reported “four unnamed parks”, one of which was this triangle. An entry in the 1912 Annual Report assumed Parks’ ownership of this parcel, and recorded that the land was “an eyesore” and soon thereafter drew up plans for its reconstruction, including the installation of iron picket fencing, lighting, and planting. Although Parks and the City of New York treated this land as their own for years, its title was not officially vested in the City until March 3, 1917.
The property was first called Cassidy Angle after Joseph Cassidy (1860-1920), the second Borough President of Queens. Cassidy was a Long Island City native who grew up in the Blissville area where he worked as a florist. From 1902 to 1905, Cassidy served as Borough President of Queens. During that time, he quickly earned a reputation for scandal. While campaigning for re-election in 1905, the city’s Commissioner of Accounts uncovered Cassidy’s many corrupt dealings, ending his political career. In 1915, Cassidy was convicted for selling a United States Supreme Court nomination for $25,000. He was sentenced to 18 months in Sing-Sing prison, but was released on parole after only one year. He then moved to Rockaway, where he became a real estate agent and died at the age of 60 on November 21, 1920.
On June 14, 1932, the Board of Alderman renamed this park in honor of Private Edward F. Gordon in order to “pay tribute to the memory of one who was born, educated and spent his youth in Queens County, and who made the supreme sacrifice in the World War”.
In October of 1979, Parks sponsored the renovation of Gordon Triangle, at which time the park was officially dedicated at a ceremony attended by former Parks Commissioner Gordon J. Davis. In 1998, then Mayor Rudolph Giuliani sponsored another reconstruction of the triangle’s sidewalks and pavements, and the installation of new benches.
Gordon Triangle is a little oasis of greenery and flies an American flag in patriotic tribute to the Private’s memory.
- Gordon Triangle
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