Kent Ave., Classon Ave., Wallabout St.
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This triangle takes its name from the adjoining avenue. The property for this triangle, at the intersection of Kent and Classon Avenues and Wallabout Street, was acquired by condemnation in connection with the land purchased for the Brooklyn-Queens Connecting Highway (now the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway). It was assigned to Parks on May 14, 1946, the day of purchase. Intended as a sitting area, the triangle was planted with London plane trees (platanus x acerifolia), and ringed with benches.
The Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE) was constructed under Parks Commissioner and influential City administrator Robert Moses (1888-1981) between 1946 and 1964, at a cost of $137 million. Built to relieve congestion on local streets and to aid industry and business by shortening transportation time between the boroughs, the six-lane, 11.7-mile-long BQE received federal, state, and city funds. After repeated reconstruction projects in the 1960s, 70s, and 80s, the BQE is slated to receive a $240-million, 4-year rehabilitation from the New York State Department of Transportation. The project is scheduled to be completed by 2004.
The Greenstreets program, begun in 1986 and revived in 1994, was created to convert paved street properties such as this one into green spaces. Parks funds the planting of trees and shrubs to improve air quality and to beautify the city’s barren spaces. Classon Triangle was developed as a Greenstreet in the fall of 1999, with $57,543 in funding from Mayor Giuliani. The renovations included the installation of a new concrete sidewalk and pedestrian ramps, and many new plantings. Japanese barberry (berberis), Japanese beautiberry (Callicarpa japonica), English ivy (Hedera helix), Inkberry (Ilex glabra), and Big blue liriope (Liriope muscari) grace the new and improved parkland.