Eight Oaks Triangle
The 450 members of the Quercus genus make up the trees that are commonly known as oaks. The genus is found mainly in the North Temperate Zone and higher altitudes of the tropics. The species of oak most prevalent in North America are the pin oak (Q. palustris), red oak (Q. rubris), and white oak (Q. alba). Some oaks are evergreens, with leaves that last the entire year, while others are deciduous and shed their leaves annually.
Acorns, one of the distinctive features of oaks, form the female portions of the trees’ reproductive system and provide a means by which the genus is divided into species. Trees in the Leucobalanus group, which includes white oaks, have sweet acorns whose scales are arranged in a spiral pattern that mature in one season. Oaks classified as Erythrobalanus, such as red and black oaks, have spiral patterned acorns that are hairy, bitter, and become mature after two years. In a third group, Cyclobalanus, the scales of the trees’ acorns form concentric rings. Oaks in the Leucobalanus and Erythrobalanus species are differentiated by leaf structure, as the former group has smooth leaves while the latter’s edges are pointed.
Oaks also play an important commercial role. The cork oak (Q. suber) is crucial to cork production in the Mediterranean region, the Mongolian oak (Q. mongolica) is an important source of lumber, and the aleppo oak (Q. infectoria) is used in the production of dye. In addition, several Asian species of oak, such as the Japanese evergreen oak (Q. acuta), are grown and cultivated for ornamental purposes.
Eight Oaks Triangle is located in the Kew Gardens neighborhood of Queens. The area derives its name from entrepreneur Abraham Wolosoff, who named the development after the Kew Gardens section of London. The London neighborhood is, in turn, named for the Royal Botanical Gardens in Kew, England.
The City acquired Eight Oaks Triangle, which is bounded by 125th Street, 84th Drive, and Austin Street, by condemnation on July 12, 1934. Parks obtained jurisdiction over the property on October 30, 1941. In 1999, Eight Oaks Triangle underwent a $47,000 renovation funded by Mayor Giuliani, adding brickwork, new wrought iron fencing and various plantings. Besides eight oaks, the triangle contains six benches under the shade of the trees that are the park’s namesake.