Lindsay Triangle

Lindsay Triangle

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

This triangle is named for New York City Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921-2000, Mayor 1965-1973).

Lindsay, a twin in a family of five children, was born in Manhattan on November 24, 1921. Living in homes along Park Avenue and in Long Island, he attended the Buckley School for Boys in New York, the St. Paul Preparatory School in New Hampshire, and Yale University. Accelerating his undergraduate coursework, Lindsay attained a degree in History, graduating early to enlist in the U.S. Navy during World War II (1939-1945). A decorated lieutenant, he returned to Yale in 1946 to earn his law degree, passing the Bar in 1948. The following year, Lindsay married Mary Anne Harrison, and the two settled in Stuyvesant Town. While practicing law, Lindsay was particularly concerned with civil liberties and political ethics.

In 1949 Lindsay began his political career serving as the head of the New York Young Republican Club and, in 1952 founded the Youth For Eisenhower organization. In 1958, he successfully ran for New York’s 17th district Congressional seat. During his tenure in office, Lindsay focused in particular on civil rights, immigration, and refugee and asylum issues, earning him the Washington nickname, “the Republican Kennedy.”

In 1965, Lindsay was elected the 103rd Mayor of New York City, one of the youngest men to hold the office and the first Republican mayor since 1941. His accomplishments in this position were numerous, including a reorganization of city government in the departments of transportation, welfare, and sanitation. He also instituted progressive reforms, including an employment incentive plan and an increased emphasis on minority recruiting in the Police Department. Lindsay also began a movement to preserve the City’s few green spaces, expanding park and recreational resources into the very heart of those neighborhoods most in need of new open areas. He orchestrated the creation of many lot-sized parks, popularly known as “vest-pocket parks,” scattered throughout the five boroughs. Lindsey was elected to a second mayoral term as a Liberal Party candidate. In 1973, he returned to private law practice, after joining the Democratic Party and running briefly for the U.S. president Democratic nomination.

On July 22, 1868 Sarah Ann Wyckoff (1831-1919) gave this small property to the City of Williamsburg. With the gift came the stipulation that “no building was ever to be erected on the land.” Sarah Ann was the wife of Nicholas Wyckoff, a direct descendent of Pieter Claesen Wyckoff, one of the most prominent citizens of 17th century New York. The house Pieter built (ca. 1652), at 5900 Clarendon Road and Ralph Avenue, is the oldest surviving building in the state and the city’s first official landmark.

At the turn of the century, the site held several water troughs, necessary for watering horses. By 1933 however, horses were no longer the main form of transportation and debris from the elevated train line built over the property made maintaining the park’s greenery nearly impossible. The Brooklyn Parks Commissioner Richard Young obtained approval from the donor’s heir, Peter Wyckoff, to pave over the property.

In 1998, Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern renamed this triangle, at the intersection of Throop Avenue, Broadway, Lorimer, and Middleton Streets, to honor Mayor Lindsay. In that same year Mayor Rudolph Giuliani funded a renovation and made room for the bus stop and accompanying bench.

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