Willets Point Wonderland
Greetings from a cold snowy day in NYC!
Willets Point, in Queens, is a famous 62 (!) acre NYC treasure trove for spare parts for cars. You name
it, they have it out there somewhere. With prices almost as good as a steal.
This area also happens to be in the armpit of the new Mets Stadium, Citifield, across the road from
the old Shea Stadium and will be razed, perhaps under eminent domain, for purposes of redevelopment -
hotel, shopping plaza, housing for everyone and of course, car parks.
I get the feeling Willets Point's days were numbered the day they broke ground on the new Met Stadium. . .
Keep warm everyone.
Awsome photo essay! A part of NY I’ve never seen or heard of before. I’d like to see more places like these in America brought to light. It looks like worldwide chop-shop headquarters.
These places, if not to this extent, have to be out there somewhere. Don’t they? Or has everything gone to the Mall? Thank you Allan for your kind words. I forgot to mention in the post that this area is supposedly the setting for the “Valley of Ashes” in F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. It has form form!
When I was looking at the photos I was thinking of Baz’s setting for Valley of the Ashes – it wouldn’t surprise me at all if it had been used. I love ‘steel wheels’ especially.
These images are haunting!!!!!!!! You have such an eye…
Thank you LFR, it was indeed a haunting place, particularly as every time I turned around it seemed I was looking at Bob’s ugly mug. He and his discount furniture are everywhere!
I swear … you need to pull all this together and create a coffee table book. I’ll be the first one to buy it!!!!!!!!!!
LFR, I don’t know what to say . . . . !
From the bottom of my heart a big thank you to you!
it seems that it’s cold
😀 😀 😀
HG, it was cold then and even colder now. Hope all warm for you!
For a moment I thought you had visited Australia. Oh, the ugliness, the assault on the senses, how dare it be so rampant a relishing of unfettered running amok of ‘freedom’.
I suppose if I squint my eyes I could almost imagine a Gaudi Christmas tree, top heavy with baubles and glitter.
Still Patti, you told this story well and with great art and gusto.
You mean this is what Australia looks like now? Love your idea of the Gaudi Christmas tree Gerard. I am sure there must be one, or more, out there somewhere. There is an iron foundry out there, founded 1931, and still working. Where will it go? The area has one resident living above the restaurant which also has the only loo in the area connected to the main sewer. It’s a popular restaurant!
Great photos of a unique area of New York Patti……before it disappears.
Thank you Burgess, another disappearing part of NYC and in years to come who will remember that it was once swampland, followed by a municipal dump and years of car repairs, oil leaks etc etc ?
superb photo essay! and look at that snow (we haven’t had any yet in the UK)…brilliant – loved the photos
So different to your gorgeous Yorkshire Dales and Moors isn’t it!
Willets Points days must be numbered! The further I scrolled down through these the more fascinating the pictures became. A previous commenter used the adjective ‘haunting’ and these were, on top of being really interesting. great job! 🙂
I am sure Citifield (Citibank), and others, have been counting the days! Thank you Peter, it truly is a fascinating place, so many layers . . ..
Thanks for showing a part of New York I’d not seen before. I guess it will be turn out to be true: they paved paradise, and put up a parking lot…
My pleasure to show you Lignum! I thought I had some idea as to what to expect when I went there but it turns out I had no idea – so much to explore. There was the initial view from a distance, then the slow fall down the rabbit hole . . .
Fine series of shots straight from life; thanks!
And life has so many different strands . . . thank you so much Harrie!
These photos make me so happy I am not there. Thank you for a wonderful reminder of what I am not missing, Patti!
Annie, believe me when I tell you, you would be happy out there!
Years from now a generation may see some of these shots in a historical collection and be awed and mystified that it ever existed in its current locale.
Nice work, Patti.
Exactly SK! And it has existed as such for so long . . . F. Scott Fitzgerald was haunted by it’s existence as per part of the consciousness of the Great Gatsby, speeding by the Valley of Ashes.
What a great photo documentation, Patti! I’m looking forward to see more!
Anette, thank you but be careful what you ask for . . . . plenty more where these came from!
Not another redevelopment 😦 Your photographs are brilliant, affirmative and full of love. They’re great, Patti!
Yes Richard, another redevelopment but how sad that this swampland became this in the first place? Did anyone care back then? The dichotomy between Citifield, and sponsors, and this nuts and bolts sweat of human endeavour is certainly a sight to behold.
yet another workingman’s garden soon to be no more.. whenever I needed a part to fix my 1970 VW they had it … they will surely be missed :>(
Great document Patti and some wonderful portraits of the workers !!!
Yes Pat, it is a workingman’s garden and as consumers we are all part of the picture. Funny isn’t it that the Mets pour $$$’s into relocating across the road from Shea and displacing businesses perhaps more successful than the Mets . . ..
This series is a moving chronicle of a death foretold.
These mega-projects will not only bring about the destruction of places like that but also will also obliterate a way of understanding life, a philosophy, a different way of running a business.
Fire and brimstone, sweat and tears . . . . and when we push it to the outer limit, as in the destruction of such places, where do we go to get our hands dirty and keep the process going so that progress may be made, the wheels of philosophy turning? Thank you Marcelo!
You caught it perfectly. There must be thousands of people who drive by everyday and don’t notice the beauty that is there. A car parts lot is a panoply of color and textures. Patti, as usual, you’ve done excellent.
Thank you so much Tom! It is tucked out of the way, a destination of a very particular sort but well worth the effort!
New York is a maze …the more you explore the less it is. Not seen this side of the city…
Thank you travtails, and yes it is a maze with so much to explore. Do you have a favorite part of the city?
Achh redevelopment…look at all the personality and culture you capture. I especially like the index finger coffee cup greeting :)…one can only hope that the people of the Point will somehow benefit. But then, I can be a bit of a dreamer. Brilliant of you to capture the faces and scenes as you have…
Thank you Christine! Somewhere down the line a museum or some such will have a re-creation of what it was once like!
It really looks like winter…
…here it is cold, but still dry.
It was such a bitter day . . . winter not far away . . .
Keep warm Rabirius and thank you!
You have made these guys princes for a day by the looks. My favourite is the one wearing the Everlast sweater. I wonder what is to become of them all? Hard to imagine the gravity of the weather when I am sitting at my computer in Sydney’s summer in my underwear!
Zita, they are true Masters of their Domains! Freddy, in the Everlast sweater, has memories of the area going back to childhood and also wonders what is to become of them all. You keep cool!
Thank you so much Inge, strange where we find beauty!
This is why I am happy not to be in New York in the winter. I like snow, but untouched. Nice set of photos. I like seeing the people.
Emilio, the sun shone the next day, as though the snow never happened. Thank you Emilio!
QUEENS CAR REPAIR – dear Patti, you’ve created a lyrical ode to this place, good that there was snow = framing perfectly the melancholic mood; we stayed some weeks in Queens, and I remember a fish-shop with three Russian women (a little bearded!); also a Chinese fish-shop with fishes creeping / escaping on the floor. Not usual in European shops …
Frizz, you took home some special memories indeed. I shall keep a look out for escaping fish on my future travels! Everyone raves about Brooklyn, or rather particular parts of Brooklyn, but there is so much to explore everywhere.
I admire you for taking photos in this weather Patti. They are fantastic! It would be a shame to see these business closed down.
Thank you Paula! On the one hand I quite enjoy shooting in bad weather and can be happily out in it all day while on the other hand I loathe shopping in bad weather and having to cart it home. As long as the camera doesn’t freeze up, which it does at times. I also have a great pair of camera gloves now that I have snipped the tips off the tops of three fingers on an old glove. Works a treat!
Back out at Willets Point, so many of the businesses have closed down / relocated already . . .
great mood 🙂
Thank you Joshi, it was indeed a good mood out there!
Thanks for this awesome insight into an unknown (for me) part of the world. I love photos like these!
My pleasure, thank you so much Cardinal!
Amazing photo documentation Patti!! Would never have guessed this was the US of A!! The freezing ‘Stacks of Cars’, and ‘Steel Wheels’, are my particular favourites.
Something for everyone here in the US of A Madhu!
Wow Patti, I can’t believe you went up there on such a snowy day. Tough lady! Got some good shots too!
Thank you Lyn but it was the only chance I had to go out there before Christmas etc, before it disappears completely. The snow gave it such an “ends of the earth” feel to the place.
True about the snow, and being away from New York, I didn’t know it was going to be destroyed so soon. Oh, gentrification, how it spreads!
I blame Bob and his damn warehouse!
I enjoy your blogs. very impressive camera work. Looking forward to following your blog. Happy New Year
Stunning photo captures. Thanks.
real life atmosphere,like it a lot