9. Fort Totten Used to be Willets Points (so there were two!)

Fort Totten

Though today we know Willets Point  as the industrial area of Corona Queens made popular by F. Scott Fitzgerald as the “valley of ashes” in The Great Gatsby, the original Willets Point is the peninsula on which Fort Totten Park is located. The federal government bought the land from the Willets in for 1857 for $115,000, a very large sum of money, especially for the time.

Located along the Cross Island Parkway off Totten Avenue between Totten and 15th Roads in the Queens neighborhood of Bay Terrace, the area was called Willets Point until it was renamed for General Joseph Totten (1788-1864) who died in Washington, D.C. in 1864.