Nassau Mall

Nassau Mall

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

This mall is located in Little Neck, Queens, a few blocks from the Nassau County border. The park was formerly named in honor of Louis Wallach (1924-1975), who was appointed a city magistrate by Mayor Vincent R. Impelliterri (1900-1987) in 1953. Wallach held this position until 1962, when he became a criminal court judge. Before his appointment, Wallach acted as associate counsel of the Division of Milk Control of the State Department of Agriculture and Markets.

Little Neck was originally inhabited by the Matinecock, a tribe of the Algonquin nation. Matinecock, meaning “hilly country,” described the surrounding landscape. In 1639, Dutch Governor Willem Kieft purchased the land that today encompasses Queens County from the Matinecock. Little Neck was called Little Madnan’s Neck by Dutch settlers, probably a corruption of Mad-nan-nock, the Matinecock name for the area. Like other towns along the north shore of Long Island, it developed into a fishing village during colonial times. By the 1850s and 1860s, oystermen operated more than a dozen sloops and schooners at the foot of Old House Landing Road (now Little Neck Parkway). In 1909, a trolley linked Little Neck to Flushing and Bayside, accelerating development. In the 1920s, streets were laid out and houses were built on former farmlands.

New York City acquired Nassau Mall, located at Nassau Boulevard and Little Neck Parkway, as part of the Horace Harding Expressway in 1954. Horace J. Harding (1863-1929), a finance magnate, directed the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad Company and the New York Municipal Railways System. A Long Island landowner, he used his influence to promote the development of Long Island’s roadways, lending strong support to Robert Moses’s (1888-1981) “great parkway plan.” Developed as early as 1924, when Moses was State Parks Commissioner for Long Island, the plan proposed a system of parks interconnected by scenic roadways. Harding also urged construction of a highway from Queens Boulevard to the Nassau County Line, in order to provide better access to Oakland Country Club, where he was a member. This road, named Horace Harding Boulevard after his death, is now the Horace Harding Expressway, part of the Long Island Expressway.

Today, Nassau Mall is a sitting area with Chrystie Forsyth benches, streetlights, and a sidewalk. The mall was officially named Louis Wallach Triangle by local law in 1978. Parks Commissioner Stern changed the name to Nassau Mall.

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