The image shows the intersection of Willet’s Point Boulevard and 37th Ave in the borough of Queens, New York City. The area is colloquially known as “The Iron Triangle” or “Willets Point”. The area was originally the city’s ash pit and referenced in The Great Gatsby during one of their sojourns driving into the city. Since the 1950s it has been a junkyard and auto repair mecca. There is no plumbing or city services to the area – you can imagine the smell.
In the last few years it has been in the cross-hairs of city government and private interests as they are hellbent on franchising the neighborhood into shopping and residences. In fact, demolition has already begun and the structure (if you would call it that, many of these auto repair shops were housed in nothing more than an arched steel shed) I stood on create this picture is now gone and the rest of the neighborhood seems to be following suit. I spent many days wandering Willets Point, which is really only about a 2/3 of a mile in size photographing the colorful facades and people that worked there.
The figures in the scene are not posed, I waited about two hours for the right combination of light and subject placement. Like many of my images, the area was scouted out well ahead of time. Willets Point has been in my memory since I was a child, as my father would take his truck there for parts.
It was shot on my 8×10″ camera using a Fujinon 600mm C lens and Kodak Portra 400 film.BACK TO PHOTO