Spring Festival planned for Bayside’s transformed Dermody Triangle

Veteran’s Day marked the first organized event held at Captain Dermody Triangle after reconstruction.
Photo courtesy of BHCA

The Bayside Hills Civic Association is gearing up to bring back their Spring Festival at the recently renovated Captain Dermody Triangle in Bayside next month.

Organizers of the May 4 event hope to evoke a circus feel with clowns, stilt walkers and face painting for kids. The local Girls Scouts will coordinate games for attendees and the local New York Black Belt Center will deliver a taekwondo exhibition. There will also be music and refreshments for all to enjoy.

“It’s such an iconic spot in our community,” said Michael Feiner, President of the Bayside Hills Civic Association. “We want to treat the community to something really nice. We want to welcome everybody to spring with something very spectacular.”

The last time the spring festival was held at Captain Dermody Triangle was in 2012, says Feiner, who is one of the organizers of the event. But after the plaza fell into disrepair, the event was moved to St. Roberts Church in Bayside where it was held for a handful of years. This upcoming spring festival marks the first festival in close to a decade. 

The last time the spring festival was held in Bayside was in 2014. Photo courtesy of BHCA

Construction on Dermody Triangle, located on 216th Street and 48th Avenue, finished just a couple months after ground was broken at the end of April last year. But the efforts to get the construction moving took almost a decade. 

“For years and years, we begged the parks department and all the agencies to renovate and revitalize the Captain Dermody Triangle,” recalled Feiner. “After 10 years of lobbying and begging and complaining, they finally did it. And it is beautiful. We’re very proud of the efforts. But it took a while.”

But now that construction on Captain Dermody Triangle finally reached completion, months after a well attended groundbreaking ceremony, locals are excited to be able to utilize the space again for community events. And paying homage to the history behind the park is also a big part of their effort.

The triangle honors outspoken abolitionist Captain William C. Dermody who was killed in action during the Civil War in the battle of Spotsylvania in Virginia on May 12, 1864. He was part of one of the first regiment of volunteers from Long Island and fought in many battles before his death. 

The plaza in Bayside has a rich history as a gathering spot for the local community. Photo courtesy of BHCA

Two years after Captain Dermody’s death, a maple tree to represent the north and a sycamore to represent the south were planted in a ceremonial meeting of a union and confederate veteran, according to the NYC Parks Department. The plot of land was a two-room school house prior to 1865. 

Today a monument with the inscription “For a Better Union 1861-1865” remains. And every Memorial Day, the Bayside Historical Society commemorates Dermody and others who fought in the civil war with a wreath. 

The festival on May 4 will run from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Captain Dermody Triangle. The BHCA hopes to host the event annually.