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Kathy Reilly Triangle

McDonald Square

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

This square honors Brooklyn resident Harold P. McDonald (1898-1934). Private McDonald served in the United States Field Artillery during World War I in France. His comrades reported that McDonald was one of the most popular men in his company. Although wounded in action, in 1919 he returned to the United States in relatively good health. Together with a number of other veterans he knew during World War I, McDonald joined the Kings County Lighting Company.

Eventually, McDonald rose to the position of Advertising Manager of the firm. The men subsequently formed American Legion Post 261. McDonald’s clever mind and winning personality made him exceptionally well liked. In 1934 McDonald developed a duodenal ulcer, had a gastrectomy (removal of portions of the lower stomach and upper small intestine) at St. Mary’s hospital, and died shortly thereafter of post-operative shock.

The City of Brooklyn first acquired the triangle, once bound by 7th Avenue, Fort Hamilton Parkway, and 79th Street, through an 1894 act of legislature providing for the annexation of the town of New Utrecht to the City of Brooklyn. Four years later, all of Brooklyn was consolidated into the City of New York. Deeply distressed by their friend’s death, the men of American Legion Post 261 petitioned to name this square for McDonald. Their goal was achieved when the City Council granted their request on April 20, 1937. On December 30, 1958, construction crews demolished the small triangle in order to make way for the Gowanus Expressway.

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