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Alben Triangle

Alben Triangle

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

Bounded by Ft. Hamilton Parkway, New Utrecht, 11th Avenue, and 46th Street in the Borough Park neighborhood of Brooklyn, Alben Triangle is named for Bud Alben, a Brooklyn resident killed in World War I. A flagpole with a memorial plaque at the base was presented by the Bud Alben Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in 1935 to honor Borough Park soldiers who died in World War I.

In the colonial era, this land was part of New Utrecht, one of the six original Brooklyn townships. In 1887, developer Electus B. Litchfield, brother of Edwin C. Litchfield (responsible for historic Litchfield Villa in Prospect Park) built a community of cottages in the area that he named Blythebourne. The neighborhood's first European residents were primarily Protestants. The adjacent community of Borough Park was founded in 1902 when New York State Senator William H. Reynolds purchased a tract north of the Blythebourne development and east of New Utrecht Avenue. Reynolds—who would later pursue the development of Dreamland in Coney Island—then subdivided the area into lots. In 1904, the first synagogue was built in Borough Park. By 1910, large numbers of Russian Jews had settled in Borough Park and nearby Blythbourne after fleeing the crowded Lower East Side.

Following World War I, improvements in transportation, such as the elevation of the New Utrecht Avenue train line, prompted the neighborhood's growth. Developers built several low-rise apartment buildings to accommodate the rapid influx of new residents. In the mid-1920s, Borough Park's boundaries grew to contain Blythebourne. During the early 1930s, about half of Borough Park's residents were Jewish, and the other half were Irish and Italian. In the late 1930s, poverty abroad led many to leave their homelands and come to America in search of better conditions. Hasidic Jews, primarily of the Bobover sect, moved to Borough Park from Poland. During the late 1950s, the Hasidic population continued to grow as the community took in residents from Crown Heights and Williamsburg who had been displaced by the construction of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway, and Hungarian Jews who immigrated after the 1956 revolution. Today nearly all of Borough Park's residents are Hasidic Jews, although small numbers of Orthodox Jews and Muslims also live in the neighborhood.

This land was acquired by the City of New York in 1918, and jurisdiction was assumed by the borough president on the same day. From the beginning, the land was to be used as a public place; Parks gained jurisdiction in 1923, and the property was named Alben Memorial Square by the Board of Aldermen the same day. The triangle shortly fell into disrepair, until the Bud Alben Post of the Veterans of Foreign Wars presented a flagpole with a memorial plaque on the base of the pole and the park reopened in 1935 to the public. The name was shortened to Alben Square in 1987 by Commissioner Stern, and then later changed to the more geometrically appropriate Alben Triangle.

Alben Triangle is bounded by a fence and includes three trees and three bushes; the flagpole with yardarm given by the Bud Alben Post is set within a paved circle. The park’s sidewalks and pavements were reconstructed in 1998 with $19,644 provided by Mayor Giuliani.

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