Hmmm…. Not only is the derivation of Willy Park uncertain, but there doesn’t seem to be agreement on just how it should be spelled. Witness the Willie Park Cleaners, on Willis Ave, and then Willy Parkers American Bar and Grill on Hillside.
[Tangent: What was originally the incomparable John’s Deli can be seen on the corner. John’s was the singular destination of the Friendly Neighborhood Go-and-Get-It Man, in the person of my brother Terry with his bike and enormous LI Press Ace Carrier basket. His Go-and-Get-It Man persona was assumed whenever Mom and Dad went out for the evening. We pooled our puny collections of change and sent him to purchase what in our house was forbidden fruit – Ring-Dings, Twinkies and Devil Dogs, as well as Yogi Berra’s Yoo-hoo (“chocolate energy drink”) and fizzy bottles of soda. Mmmm-mmmm! ]
In addition to confusion brought about by such flexible naming conventions, the Grammar Curmudgeon in me takes umbrage to “Willy Parkers American Bar and Grill.” Should it be Willy Parker’s, owned and operated by Mr. Parker, or Willy Parkers’, a place set aside for the exclusive enjoyment of the local residents? I guess they couldn’t decide. Next time I go to Willy Park, I might take along an apostrophe and make the decision for them.