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Freedom Triangle

Freedom Square

This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This landscaped triangle, located in the Brooklyn neighborhood of Bushwick, commemorates the sacrifice of the Brooklyn men who gave their lives during World War I (1914-1918).

One of the six original communities that comprised Brooklyn during the period of Dutch ownership in the 1660s, Bushwick remained a largely agrarian area well into the 1800s. In 1854 the township of Bushwick was absorbed into the City of Brooklyn. Development increased with the addition of an elevated train line connecting Brooklyn with Manhattan in 1888. Over the years the neighborhood has became home to Germans and Italians during the Depression-New Deal Era (1929-1939), African-Americans, Puerto Ricans and Dominicans after World War II (1939-1945), and, most recently, Guyanese, Jamaicans, Indians and Chinese.

Acquired by the City in 1912, this park site at the intersection of Bushwick, Myrtle, and Willoughby Avenues was named Freedom Square in 1919. In 1921, Victory with Peace, a monument depicting Nike, the Greek Goddess of Victory, leaning forward with an olive branch, the symbol of peace, was erected to memorialize Brooklyn’s losses during World War I.

Sculpted by Pietro Montana (1890-1978), an Italian immigrant and New Yorker, the face of Nike was modeled after Claudia Deloney, a Hollywood actress and friend of film star Gloria Swanson. The statue is set upon a granite stone pedestal designed by the architect William C. Deacy. Inscribed beneath the statue are the words, “In Memory of the Men of the 19th Assembly District Who Died in the World War 1917-1918.” The work also contains a list of 94 individual names of the deceased. In 1936 the bronze statue was repaired and the pedestal re-pointed.

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