This triangle, bordering the Bronx neighborhoods of The Hub, Mott Haven, and Concourse Village, honors George P. Ryan, a Bronx native and World War I (1914-1918) veteran. Raised in Mott Haven, Ryan enlisted in the Army following the United States’ entry into World War I in 1917. Ryan was assigned to the 27th Infantry Division of the United States Army. Eventually promoted to the rank of Corporal, Ryan was part of the critical American offensive against the Germans in 1918.
The 27th Division of the U.S. Army had been deployed on August 10, 1918, with the intention of driving the Germans out of Verdun, France, and away from their railway base nearby. The offensive, known as the Saint-Mihiel Campaign, successfully caught the Germans off guard and drove them into the hills of Monfaucon. The Meuse-Argonne offensive, named for the Meuse River and Argonne Forest in the area’s vicinity, was the next step in the American advancement. The offensive was designed to remove the Germans from their entrenchment in the hills. The attack began on September 26, when General John J. Pershing (1860-1948), overall commander of the American Expeditionary Force, sent 1.2 million Americans at the German lines. Corporal Ryan was killed during the offensive on September 29, 1918. The attack succeeded in pushing Germany toward surrender two months later. Corporal George P. Ryan is buried in Arlington Cemetery.
This triangle was originally acquired by the City on July 23, 1900, and placed under the jurisdiction of the Bronx Borough Parks Department. Soon after the war the Bronx community wished to honor Corporal Ryan. The George P. Ryan Post 891 of the American Legion dedicated a plaque at the site. It read, "In memory of Corporal G. Ryan, C.O. 1, U.S Inf., 27th Division, who was killed in action at Bony, France, September 29th, 1918." The plaque has since been removed. On April 21, 1925, the Board of Aldermen (predecessor of the City Council) named the property George P. Ryan Square.
The five borough parks departments were centralized in 1934 under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses (1888-1981), but in 1949 the Bronx Borough President’s office successfully petitioned to the Board of Aldermen to have the George P. Ryan Square placed under their authority. A 1961 charter ultimately gave Parks control over the property. In 1997 Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern renamed the site Ryan Triangle.
At Ryan Triangle, located on East 143rd Street and Morris Avenue, woodchips form a triangular border around landscaped greenery. There is a variety of plant life, including several young saplings that were recently planted. In the middle of the triangle is a smaller paved spot, with a large rock in its center. Several feet from the rock a flagpole with a yardarm displays the flags of the United States, City of New York, and Parks.