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Here Are Four Willets Point Plans That Never Happened

By Katie Honan | July 25, 2016 7:18am
 A view from Willets Point, where many businesses are still in operation.
A view from Willets Point, where many businesses are still in operation.
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DNAinfo/Katie Honan

QUEENS — One hundred years ago, developers filled in the marshy space between Flushing and Corona to create the area now known as Willets Point.

Since then it's been mostly home to auto body shops and garages, but in the decades since developers and city officials have eyed it for various developments. There's currently a plan between the city and the Queens Development Group, a joint venture between Sterling Equities and the Related Companies.

Sources have said the governor wants to turn it into parking for LaGuardia Airport. 

There's also a round of recent rumors that the site is being considered as a stadium for the New York Islanders, according to reports.

But throughout its history, countless other development proposals have been floated for Willets Point. Here's a look at just a few:


As Robert Moses began to plan for his second World's Fair at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, he eyed the space that housed auto body shops at Willets Point for parking. While the area had been used for the 1939 World's Fair as "parking fields," maps show, shops had opened up in the decade between fairs. 

Moses met his match in the then-Willets Point Property Owners Association, which was represented by a young lawyer from Holliswood, Mario M. Cuomo, who fought the proposed takeover of 67.6 acres of land — and won, the paper reported. 


In addition to the parking, Moses wanted to build something else at Willets Point: "the finest small baseball diamonds in the world," according to a 1964 article in the Long Island Daily Press. The article pointed out that Moses usually got his way, but he never did when it came to Willets Point. This plan was scrapped, too, as the court ruled in the favor of Cuomo and the auto body shop owners multiple times. 

At a public hearing for the City Planning Commission, the future governor suggested people who called Willets Point an eyesore could use federal funds to "screen off the junkyard area from outside view," according to reports. He also said the Little League fields could be built anywhere else in the park. 


In 1984, the city and state announced a plan for developers of privately-funded domed football stadium to build at Willets Point. City officials were still reeling from the New York Jets ditching Shea Stadium for the Meadowlands in New Jersey, and hoped to lure them back with a place of their own that would stay open during any conditions. 

One of the proposed developers was current Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump, who wanted to fund a 80,000- to 85,000-seat stadium by selling or leasing the seats at a premium, in which "purchasers would gain tax advantages and the opportunity to resell their seats at increased value in the open market, in the same manner as the owner of a condominium apartment," according to an article in the New York Times. Trump got the OK from the city and state for the plan, so long as he could convince an NFL team to play there. It didn't happen.


Mayor Michael Bloomberg and a deputy mayor, Daniel Doctoroff, had huge visions for a their 2012 Olympics bid. Local park activist David Oats pushed for a new Olympic Stadium to be built at Willets Point; that plan was scrapped for a replacement to Shea Stadium. The city ultimately lost the bid to host the Olympics but Citi Field construction continued, and the new home of the Mets opened in 2009.