In a small corner of Queens in the shadow of Citibank Field there is a place that looks like the set of a dystopian movie. Willets Point, Queens, known for its junkyards, auto repair shops and recycling plants, has been nicknamed “The Iron Triangle” and for good reason. The streets are unpaved, cars are stacked on top of each other and tires float in puddles the size of lakes.
The businesses have been fighting a long battle with past and current NYC administrations over eminent domain, but they have lost. The area has now been slated for redevelopment. There has been talk about turning it into everything from an Olympic Stadium to a convention center.
My motive in creating The Iron Triangle was to create a visual record of the area before it is all sanitized by shopping malls and frozen yogurt stands. To examine the stories of the people I met there – the immigrant worker whose family just left him; the small business owner being pushed out against his will; the people who work on minimum wage and are trying to get their car fixed cheaply because they need to get to work tomorrow.
These photographs show an area that was forgotten in time and asks the question: Does every place need to be completely developed? Is there no place for the run down, the beat up and untamed or does every corner of New York City have to be cleaned up and sanitized of its past? Willets Point is like a one eyed junk yard dog – only scary if you don’t know how to approach it.
Greg Brophy is a Brooklyn-based photographer who documents New York’s disappearing neighborhoods and the void that is left there. He primarily works with medium and large format film and often uses alternative printing methods to connect the finished piece with the subject matter.
BFA from Syracuse University September 1992 – May 1996
Flash Powder Projects April 2015
2013 Sandy: The Once and Future Superstorm, Bergen Community College, Paramus, NJ
2013 The International Art Festival, CPW 25 Gallery, New York, NY
2013 The 5th Annual Curious Camera Event, Arts Eye Gallery, Tucson AZ
2013 Into The Blue, The Impossible Project Space New York, NY
2010 “Cold Fingers Reach Into the Night Air” Exhibited by the MTA in the 181st Street Subway New York, NY
2007 Economy, The City College of New York, NY
2006 Vague Terrain: Manhattanville, The City College of New York, NY
Publications (print and online)
2010 “Anette Betty” Fotoblur
2010 "Highbridge Tower 3" SHOTS Magazine Issue #108
2012 "Coney Island Lost" Square magazine
2012 "Coney Island Lost" Pure Photo website
2012 "Coney Island Lost" Glossom website
2013 "Coney Island Lost" FotoVisura website
2013 “The Life and Death of a Shore Town” Interview with The Impossible Project on their website
2016 "The Iron Triangle" Behold blog
2016 "The Iron Triangle" Fraction Magazine
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