Badame Sessa Triangle
Leonard St., Withers St., Meeker Ave.
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Badame-Sessa Memorial Square
This triangle in Williamsburg honors 16 neighborhood men who gave their lives in the Vietnam War (1964-1975). Private Michael Sessa Jr. lends his name to this park, along with World War I (1914-1918) Sergeant George G. Badame.
Private Michael Sessa, Jr. (1948-1967), a Brooklyn native, was killed in Pleiku, Vietnam on May 18, 1967. His tour of duty began only eight months earlier, at the age of eighteen. New York City native Sergeant George G. Badame (1896-1955) enlisted on October 4, 1915 and served in Company E, Twelfth Infantry of the National Guard during the Mexican Border Campaign (1916-1917) in World War I. Promoted to the rank of Sergeant, he transferred to the 52nd Pioneer Infantry. In 1918-1919, he served in the Meuse-Argonne defensive sector in France, where he was wounded. After receiving a Purple Heart for his brave service, Badame was released by reason of demobilization, and went on to serve on the Draft Board.
This park, developed as a sitting area, was acquired by the City in 1946 during proceedings for the creation of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway (BQE). The BQE was constructed under the direction of Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981) from 1946 to 1964 at a cost of $137 million. Linking the boroughs of Brooklyn and Queens, the six-lane, 11.7 mile long highway was built to relieve congestion on local streets and to aid industry and business by shortening transportation time. After undergoing repeated reconstruction projects in the 1960s, 70s and 80s, the BQE will receive a $240 million, 4-year rehabilitation from the New York State Department of Transportation, scheduled to be completed in 2004.
Williamsburg, originally contained in the Dutch town of Bushwick, is a neighborhood with 400 years of history. Named in 1810 for the original surveyor of the site, Col. Jonathan Williams, this area was purchased in 1802 by Richard Woodhull. Intending to market it as a peaceful residential area for Manhattan workers, he began a ferry service between Brooklyn and Manhattan. Although his idea did not take off immediately, the area became so well populated by 1852 that it was chartered as a city, only to be annexed by Brooklyn in 1855.
The monument located in the southwestern corner of the park was installed by the now-defunct Badame-Sessa Memorial Post 1336 of the American Legion and was sponsored by the Conselyea Street Block Association. It lists the names of the brave young men who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country during the Vietnam War. Badame-Sessa Memorial Square was named by Parks in 1994.
The park lies on Meeker Street at the intersection of Leonard and Withers Streets, and it features benches surrounded by trees and shrub plantings. The trees were replanted as part of a reforestation initiative begun by Parks in 1997 and funded by million dollar commitments from both the State and the City. Three flags fly above the park: the Parks flag, the flag of the United States, and the flag of the City of New York.