GREENSTREET

Wyckoff Triangle

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

This small piece of property at the intersection of New Lots Road, Miller Avenue, and Riverdale Avenue is named for Major Hendrick Wyckoff, a financial agent for New York’s first post-colonial governor George Clinton. Crossing into British-occupied Kings County, Wyckoff obtained loans for the patriotic cause from supportive residents. After the Revolutionary War ended in 1783, he returned to his family’s home in New Lots and worked as a merchant until his death in 1791.

 The patriarch of the Wyckoff family, Pieter Claesen Wyckoff (1625-1694) arrived in America from Holland as an illiterate indentured servant on March 4, 1637. After completing his required six years of labor at Rensselaerswyck (near present-day Albany), Wyckoff returned south, and eventually became superintendent of Governor Peter Stuyvesant’s farm. He acquired land from Stuyvesant which had been originally bought from the Canarsie Indians in 1636, and built up his holdings to become a successful farmer, a magistrate, and the wealthiest citizen of New Amersfoort (which later became the town of Flatlands).

After the Dutch surrendered possession of the colony to the British in 1664, Pieter Claesen adopted a surname as required of all Dutch landowners (Claesen means simply “son of Claes”). The name Wyckoff is thought to derive from Wyck meaning town and hof meaning magistrate, appropriate since Claesen served as magistrate of New Amersfoort from 1655 to 1665. Claesen and his wife, Grietje van Ness, raised 11 children in their one room home, and successive generations operated the property as a farm until 1902. The Wyckoff House, now a museum and national landmark, is located in Brooklyn at 5900 Clarendon Road and Ralph Avenue. The structure was built in 1652 and is the oldest surviving building in New York City.

Wyckoff Triangle is part of the Greenstreets program, a collaboration between Parks and the NYC Department of Transportation that aims to transform paved street properties such as triangles and malls into greenspaces.

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  • Wyckoff Triangle

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