This triangle and the adjacent avenue are named for an American naval officer best known for his command of the frigate Constitution during the War of 1812 (1812-1815), Isaac Hull (1773-1843).
Born in Shelton, Connecticut, Isaac Hull went to sea at an early age, serving as a cabin boy in 1787, and later in 1792 a master of a merchantman vessel. He was captured twice by French privateers while sailing the West Indies between 1796 and 1797 and, returning home in March of 1798 was commissioned a Fourth Lieutenant of the United States Naval frigate U.S.S. Constitution. Hull fought in the United States undeclared war with France (1798-1800) and the Tripolitan War (1801-1805) against the North African-based Barbary pirates. As the Constitution’s captain, Hull escorted several diplomatic and financial missions to Holland and France, before being recalled to port in preparation for America’s second war with the British Empire in nearly 30 years, the War of 1812.
With the outbreak of hostilities, Captain Isaac Hull and the Constitution were put to sea once more. Encountering a superior British force near Egg Harbor, New Jersey in July 1812, Hull and his crew lead the enemy on a sixty-six hour long sea chase before successfully pulling away from their pursuers. On August 19, 1812, Captain Hull ordered his crew to engage the British frigate Guerriere in the Mid-Atlantic. Out maneuvering their British counter-part, the Constitution’s 55 guns brought down the enemy’s mizzenmast with its first volley and, over the next half hour, proceeded to pummel the stricken vessel into submission and irrevocably destroyed Britain’s mythic naval superiority. Shortly thereafter, Hull assumed command of New York’s harbor defenses. In 1823, Hull was promoted to the rank of commodore, and subsequently commanded the Pacific Squadron, the Washington Navy Yard, and the Mediterranean Squadron. Dying in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on February 13, 1843, his last words were reported to have been, “I strike my flag.”
This triangle is located in the Queens neighborhood of Maspeth. The name Maspeth is derived from the Mespat, a Native American tribe that inhabited the region at the mouth of Newtown Creek. The neighborhood is located in central Queens, and is surrounded on three sides by cemeteries: the Mount Olivet Lutheran Cemetery, the Calvary Cemetery, the Linden Hill Cemetery, the New Calvary Cemetery, and the Mount Zion Cemetery.
Hull Triangle was built in conjunction with the Queens-Midtown Expressway, now known as the Long Island Expressway. In 1953, the property was acquired by the City of New York and was transferred to Parks. In addition to its shaded benches and landscaping, the park holds two miniature white horse sculptures that serve as children’s seats. Safety surfacing surrounding the horses ensures the protection of the children who frequent the small park.