The area was named after that portion of Willets Point Boulevard lying west of Flushing Creek, which flows northward past the area. Willets Point Boulevard once crossed a bridge (no longer in existence) over Flushing Creek and continued to the cape of the same name at the confluence of the East River and Long Island Sound. The true Willets Point is the site of Fort Totten near Bayside, but in the beginning of the 21st century it became common to apply the name "Willets Point" (derived from the street, rather than the geographical feature) to this area.
The area is very industrial and is filled with auto repair shops, scrap yards, waste processing sites, and similar small businesses. In times of severe rain, flooding is common. A recent Hunter College study found that Willets Point was a "unique regional destination" for auto parts and repairs.
It was also the location for a proposed stadium for the 2012 Summer Olympics and press center, which would have replaced Shea Stadium and the car junkyards; however, New York City lost its Olympic bid. Nonetheless, a new baseball stadium is under construction on a slightly different site for the New York Mets that is named Citi Field.
The "adamant opposition" letter was signed by the following 29 City Council members: Joseph Addabbo, Jr.; Tony Avella; Charles Barron; Leroy C. Comrie; Bill de Blasio; Inez Dickens; Mathieu Eugene; Lewis A. Fidler; James Gennaro; Vincent J. Gentile; Eric N. Gioia; Sara M. Gonzalez; Letitia James; G. Oliver Koppell John Liu; Miguel Martinez; Darlene Mealy; Rosie Mendez; Hiram Monserrate; Annabel Palma; Diana Reyna; Joel Rivera; James Sanders, Jr.; Helen Sears; James Vacca; Albert Vann; David Weprin; Thomas White; David Yassky.
Statements made during a news conference by City Council members who signed the opposition letter were documented on video, and are viewable via two external links below.
On April 24, 2008, Queens elected officials, various union members and many others rallied at a press conference on the steps of New York City Hall. The gathering was in support of having the city move forward with the proposed development of Willets Point. The rally was led by Queensborough President Helen Marshall. Also in attendance were state senators Frank Padavan and Toby Ann Stavisky and Assembly Member Nettie Mayersohn, former Queensborough President Claire Shulman and Queens Chamber of Commerce President Al Pennisi who spoke about the vital role the development would play in the Queens business community.
“While we must insure that current business owners and employees’ needs are met by the city, the Queens Chamber of Commerce fully supports this project as presented,” Pennisi said. “We must not bow to pressure to alter a plan that conceivably could be the most important in Queens’ history with regard to the borough’s economic vitality.” Reported by the Queens Courier.
The plan was approved by Community Board 7 June 30, 2008 but needs several further approvals before going into effect.
The short stretch of businesses along Northern Boulevard between Willets Point Boulevard and Flushing Creek served as the inspiration for the location of George Wilson's gas station in The Great Gatsby; Myrtle Wilson would have been run over by Daisy Buchanan on Northern Boulevard.
The 2007 film Chop Shop was filmed and takes place in this neighborhood.
MAYOR BLOOMBERG BREAKS GROUND ON $50 MILLION IN INFRASTRUCTURE IMPROVEMENTS AT WILLETS POINT, LAYING GROUNDWORK FOR FUTURE DEVELOPMENT AND CREATION OF THOUSANDS OF JOBS.
Dec 01, 2011; NEW YORK, NY -- The following information was released by the office of the mayor of New York: First Phase of the Project Will...
MAYOR BLOOMBERG, DEPUTY MAYOR LIEBER, NEW YORK HOTEL AND MOTEL TRADES COUNCIL PRESIDENT WARD ANNOUNCE UNPRECEDENTED HOSPITALITY JOB PROGRAM AS PART OF WILLETS POINT WORKFORCE ASSISTANCE PLAN
Sep 23, 2008; The office of the New York City Mayor issued the following press release: Assistance Plan - Available to Every Willets Point...