This triangle honors Luke J. Lang (c.1894-1917), a soldier who gave his life in World War I (1914-1918). Born in 1894, Lang lived on Bleecker Street in the nearby neighborhood of Ridgewood, and he worked as a printer at J.E. Hetsch on Duane Street in Manhattan. Lang enlisted to fight in World War I in June 1917. The details of his death are unknown.
This triangle is located in the Queens neighborhood of Maspeth. “Maspeth” is derived from the name of the indigenous people, the Mespat, who inhabited the region at the head of Newtown Creek. In response to unsanitary conditions and frequent outbreaks of diseases like yellow fever, an 1830 ordinance forbade burials in Manhattan below Canal Street. The construction of suburban cemeteries, consequently, quickly increased. Newtown, a region straddling Brooklyn and Queens in what is now Maspeth, was the site of many such cemetery constructions, so much so that it was often called “the city of the dead.” Maspeth is surrounded on three sides by cemeteries, including the Mt. Olivet Lutheran, Calvary, Linden Hill, New Calvary, and Mt. Zion cemeteries.
Alden Sampson & Son originally owned the land on which this park lies. The City acquired the site in September 1916 by condemnation. The Board of Aldermen (predecessor of the City Council) named this park for Luke J. Lang in April of 1933.
Lang Triangle, bounded by Fresh Pond Road, 61st Street, and 59th Road, was renovated between 1935 and 1936. At that time, blue-stone sidewalks and hexagonal pavers were added, a central flagpole with seats was installed, and three Norway maples (Acer platanoides) were planted. The park also underwent sidewalk and site renovations in 2000 with $13,353 allocated by Mayor Giuliani.