The newly reconstructed Legion Triangle is welcoming City Islanders and visitors alike, with a patriotic salute.
“The triangle size was expended to improve pedestrian and vehicular ciruclation and to better acoommodate war memorials sponsored for decades by American Legion Post 156,” said a NYC Department of Transportation spokesperson.
The project was part of the NYC DOT construction project on the City Island bridge, with the triangle located on the island side of the bridge.
With construction on the Legion Triangle starting in the winter of 2017, the project was completed in time for Memorial Day remembrance celebrations in 2018.
Since then, both the veteran and City Island community have praised the renovations.
“It looks way better than we expected it to,” said Peter Del Debbio, commander of the American Legion Leonard H. Hawkins Post 156 on City Island.
Del Debbio said he recalled looking at the initial blueprints DOT presented to them and their main concern was for space for the existing monuments and new space added for future monuments to be added.
With the additional square footage, Del Debbio said his American Legion post thought about adding monuments to soldiers involved in the global war on terror as well soldiers involved in the Iraq, Afghanistan and Syria conflicts.
Aside from the obvious size difference, one of the new aspects of the triangle is that it is accessible and has a path that cuts through the center for people to go through and look at the monuments.
The path and accessibility ramps, which connect to three crosswalks, one to the bridge, one to City Island Avenue and one to Bridge Street, has also provided an element of safety for pedestrians and cyclists approaching that intersection.
Bordering the path in the triangle is a long granite seatwall, which is now used for those to sit and reflect on the monuments or simply enjoy the warm weather.
“The construction on the triangle caused a lot of traffic congestion, but it came out really nice,” said City Island resident John Kehley while sitting on the granite slab for the first.
Aside from those who sit at the triangle, neighbors of it can enjoy the additional green relief it provides, as various plantings of flowers, bushes and shrubs also decorate the space on either side of the path.
“It used to look a little abandoned, but now it’s awesome,” said Jesse Cintron who lives across the street from the triangle and was outside chatting with his neighbors about the completed project.
The initial triangle was erected more than 70 years ago and prior to its renovation was not accessible and was bordered by a rope fence, according to Del Debbio.
During the preliminary stages of the construction planning phase of the new triangle many City Island residents were concerned about traffic patterns changing, specifically the ability to turn left onto Bridge Street from City Island Avenue.
That issue was resolved before construction began in 2017.