Rediscovering the history of Federoff Triangle
by Michael Perlman
Dec 19, 2017 | 10341 views | 0 0 comments | 83 83 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lost Battalion Hall director David Siegel presents a bust to Barnett Federoff in 1963.
Lost Battalion Hall director David Siegel presents a bust to Barnett Federoff in 1963.
Among the shops, restaurants and residential buildings and hustle and bustle on Queens Boulevard is a small respite.

Federoff Triangle, which is at the intersection of 67th Road and 102nd Street, features benches and four trees offering partial shade. During the milder months, nearly every bench is filled with residents who congregate or await the arrival of the Q60 bus.

The park has become a neighborly destination, and its small size is integral to that.

Created approximately 50 years ago, the park was a patch of asphalt that lacked trees, but over time it became a bit greener. In 1986, then-Parks Commissioner Henry Stern discussed the agency’s plans to transform a number of parks and restore the city’s green landscapes, and Federoff Triangle was part of the plan.

“A lot of New York was paved over when it was fashionable to do so,” he said at the time. “Now we are discovering that some of it is not necessary for automobile transit. We are retrieving extra large sheets, extra large squares, and giant paved spaces in the city.”

In 2005, a historic marker that was installed by the Parks Department vanished and has never been replaced. The triangle was last renovated in the spring of 2012.

But Federoff Triangle is more than just a name, it isa meaningful part of Forest Hills and Rego Park history.

The park pays homage to Gussie (1889–1967) and Barnett Federoff (1888–1970), a couple who contributed to the spirit of their community and lived nearby in The Toldeo building of Birchwood Towers at 102-30 66th Road.

In September 1970, the City Council passed legislation to name the park in honor of Gussie and Barnett, and Federoff Triangle was born.

Gussie was born in Kiev, immigrated to America, and married Barnett, who was also of Russian descent. They called 1045 Ward Avenue in the Bronx and 664 West 161st Street in Manhattan home before relocating to Forest Hills.

As a member of the Washington Heights branch of Hadassah, the earliest worldwide Zionist organization, which advocates for women’s issues and offers medical training, Gussie raised funds for the United Jewish Appeal, a philanthropic Jewish umbrella organization.

Barnett is remembered for being the first president of the Senior Citizens Society of Lost Battalion Hall Recreation Center at 93-29 Queens Boulevard in Rego Park. In 1963, in recognition of his achievements, he was presented with a bust by director David Siegel.

Today, records of their personal lives are minimal, but Barnett’s February 11, 1970, obituary referred to him as a beloved husband and devoted father of Louis, Ruth, Howard, and Mildred Crane, a dear brother of Anna Alpern, and a loving grandfather and great-grandfather.

Recently, California resident Alan Federoff, the grandson of Gussie and Barnett and a history buff who is an active member of the Facebook group Queens Back In The Day created by Scott Aronofsky, discovered that a park in Forest Hills bears his family name. Federoff was raised in Queens and relocated in 1970.

He remembers his grandparents as humble and kind, but didn't know them that well, so he is hoping to make more discoveries about their past.

“My family and I are honored that Federoff Triangle bears homage to the commitment and involvement of my grandparents, who loved the community they lived in and worked toward a community for all living there to take pride in,” he said.
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