This triangle is named for Albert E. Short (1874-1951), a lifelong resident of Long Island City who served as a Queens Assistant District Attorney from 1938 to 1951.
Short received his law degree from Fordham University in 1929. As Queens Assistant DA, he developed a reputation for prosecuting bootleggers and extortionists. A manager of the District Attorney’s Youth Program, Short was also interested in helping curb juvenile delinquency and, hence, the need for judicial correction. In 1942, Short served as the Exalted Ruler of the Queensboro Lodge of Elks. Short died on March 3, 1951.
The land that is now Short Triangle was granted by the Trustees of Union College to Long Island City on November 4, 1884. On New Year’s Day of 1898, the title of this land was vested to the City of New York, when Long Island City and the rest of Queens became part of the newly consolidated City of New York. On July 11, 1911, the Queens Department of Parks separated from the Brooklyn-Queens Department of Parks. Soon thereafter, the new Queens Commissioner of Parks initially named the land Bowley Angle after the successful New York politician Frederick Bowley (1851-1916).
Bowley was born in New York on December 19, 1851, and was trained as a butcher. In 1887, he bought land in Long Island City and opened butcher shops there, in Astoria and in Flushing. Bowley served as an Alderman (i.e. City Council Member) in Long Island City from 1895 to 1897. After the consolidation of the City of New York on New Year’s Day of 1898, Bowley was appointed the first Borough President of Queens and remained in the position until 1901. After his tenure as Borough President, Bowley served as the Queens County Clerk. He died on September 15, 1916.
After Albert Short’s death, the local legislature decided “the name of a man who devoted himself to the problems of our youth should be perpetuated by naming this triangle in Queens in his memory.” In 1951, a local law renamed the park located at the intersection of Jackson Avenue, 45th Road, and 23rd Street in Long Island City, Queens, Albert E. Short Triangle. Today, a low iron fence surrounds this triangle of lush grass. Outside the fencing stand three park benches often frequented by neighborhood residents. Stairs lead up to the local station where the Flushing line of the Interborough Rapid Transit stops.
In 1997, Councilman Walter L. McCaffrey sponsored a planting at Short Triangle. A baby Weeping cherry tree (Prunus pendula) was planted in the center of the triangle to accompany the long-standing Norway maple tree (Acer platanoides) that stands at the triangle’s western corner.