S. Berliner, III's sbiii.com Queens Continuation Page 3 keywords = Long Island Motor Parkway Vanderbilt Queens 193 Peck Underhill Horace Harding Cunningham Alley pond park Kissena Corridor toll road limited access highway boulevard automotive auto car truck car history Miller

Updated:   04 Aug 2012, 09:50  ET
[Page created 02 Mar 2004; converted 22 Nov 2010;

    original AT&T Worldnet Website begun 30 May 1996.]
Update info on the top on ALL pages for your convenience.

URL:  http://sbiii.com/limp-qn3.html
[was at "home.att.net/~Berliner-Ultrasonics/limp-qn3.html"]

S. Berliner, III
Consultant in Ultrasonic Processing
"changing materials with high-intensity sound"

[consultation is on a fee basis]

Technical and Historical Writer, Oral Historian
Popularizer of Science and Technology
Rail, Auto, Air, Ordnance, and Model Enthusiast
Light-weight Linguist, Lay Minister, and Putative Philosopher

note - The vast bulk of my massive Web presence (over 485 pages) had been hosted by AT&T's WorldNet service since 30 May 1996; they dropped WorldNet effective 31 Mar 2010 and I am scrambling to transfer everything.  Everything's saved but all the links have to be changed, mostly by hand.  See my sbiii.com Transfer Page for any updates on this tedious process.

S. Berliner, III's


Long Island Motor Parkway
Continuation Page 3

{and these are only thumbnails, at that!}


a.k.a. Vanderbilt Motor Parkway

(and related matters)

[in Queens County]

Motor Parkway Panel Logo

To save space on this page, I refer you to the LIMP Index Page.


note-rt.gif  The index on this page has been truncated to save page space; see the LIMP Index on the page preceding the main LIMP page.

On the main LIMP page:

        now continued on the LONG ISLAND MOTOR PARKWAY HISTORY page, et seq.

Continuation Page 0:

    LIMP POSTS (and reinforced concrete).
    LINKS to the LIMP.

Continuation Page 1A:

    LIMP at confluence
        of Marcus/Lakeville/NSParkway.

Continuation Page 2:

    More on the LIMP.
    Views of the LIMP.
    I. U. Willets Road Fragment.
    Roslyn Road Fragment.
    Bridge at Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
    Horace Harding (of Boulevard fame).
    Open LIMP Matters - Questions and Speculations.

Continuation Page 3:

    Crossings from Roslyn Road to the Maxess Road Bridge.

Continuation Page 4:

    Old Courthouse Road Bridge, New Hyde Park.
    Garden City Toll Lodge.
    Crossings Continued - Maxess/Duryea Road Bridge.
    More on Duryea Road Crossing.

Continuation Page 5:

       and now continued on the LIMP Apocrypha Page.

Continuation Page 6:

    Dubious Artifact at NSP/NHP Road.
    Queens Vignettes.

Continuation Page 7:

    ROUTE 110 SAND PITS AREA Update.

Continuation Page 8:

    North Hills.
    Mineola-Carle Place.

Continuation Page 9:

    LIMP at confluence of Marcus/Lakeville/NSParkway, continued,
        with Great Neck Toll Lodge.

Continuation Page 10:

    Additional WILLISTON-NEW HYDE PARK ROAD Documentation.
    Bronx River Parkway.

Continuation Page 11:

    1941 Queens Aerial Photos.

Queens Page:

    Western Terminus
        (193rd-199th St./Peck Av./Underhill Blvd./Horace Harding Blvd./LIE).

Queens Continuation Page 1:

    Alley Pond and Environs.

Queens Continuation Page 2:

    Fresh Meadows Ballfields and Theater

On this Queens Continuation Page 3:

    Western Terminus - continued - Fresh Meadow(s).
        (193rd-199th St./Peck Av./Underhill Blvd./Horace Harding Blvd./LIE).
        VANDERBILT MOTOR PARKWAY - Cunningham Park - NYC Parks Placard
        (moved here from LIMP Open page 05 Jun 04).
    MOTOR PARKWAY - 14.049 acres - NYC Parks Placard.
    Wheeler Farmway Bridge Redivivus!

Suffolk Page:

    Eastern Terminus (Lake Ronkonkoma).

This is yet another page to cover additional information and photographs of this interesting old highway; see also my Automotive, Chrysler, Dudgeon (really!), Mercedes, and SS and JAGUAR car pages and other related pages.

A Motor Parkway Panel has been convened to keep the LIMP alive in minds and museums.

There is also a lot of automotive material on my ORDNANCE and HISTORY pages.

Also, if you like automotive history, see the links on the Automotive page.

RoW = Right-of-Way.


Queens County

Western Terminus (continued)

    (new 02 Mar 04)

of the


in the vicinity of

199rd Street area, Peck Avenue and Underhill Boulevard, and
Horace Harding Boulevard (and today's Long island Expressway).

(continued from Queens Continuation Page 1 and Queens Continuation Page 2)

Motor Parkway Panel member Fred Hadley supplied us with a full set of high-resolution aerial photographs from the Western Terminus to the Queens-Nassau line!  I put them on page 11.

[Much on these overloaded pages had become obsolete as new information and images crowded in,
so I decided to start yet another page! (02 Mar 2004)]

1941 Photos at 73rd Av./Francis Lewis Blvd./199th St.

Panel Associate Mitch Kaften had sent me this shot (moved from the main Queens page on 02 Mar 04), taken from the N railing of the LIMP on the 73rd Avenue bridge in 1941 (barren isn't it?); it is a view NE toward high ground, 100 yards or so beyond which runs today's Clearview Expressway:

view from 73rd
(1941 photo courtesy M. Kaften, 24 Feb 03)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for larger image.]

Note Francis Lewis (Cross Island) Boulevard, the dirt road running N-S immediately E beyond the NE abutment, and that lone, low post:

view of post from 73rd
(detail from 1941 photo courtesy M. Kaften)

I wonder if that post mightn't be the base for the street light shown on Conroy06 and my own photos on the LIMP Queens page 1 (looking E and W), which, now that I have room, I am repeating here:

(Photo courtesy of J. J. Conroy - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail images; click on pictures for larger images.]

LIMP at FLB/73 5

LIMP at 199/73 6
(16 May 02 photos by and © 2002 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

The latter two are "looking E over 199th, with the FLB traffic lights visible under the bridge, and then ditto looking W over FLB, with the 199th red traffic light visible under the right (N) sidewalk arch".

The reason for moving the first (Mitch's) photo, above, is that I realized there is another shot, looking south toward the high ground where today's Northern State Parkway runs (for which there wasn't room on the page):

view from 73rd
(1941 photo courtesy M. Kaften, 24 Feb 03/02Mar 04)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for larger image.]

Not only did I have this second 1941 view but I had marked it up to show features:

view from 73rd
(1941 photo courtesy M. Kaften, 24 Feb 03)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for larger image.]

Now, all I have to do is to remember just WHY I made the mark-up; the solid horizontal white line at upper left is my approximation of where the LIMP runs and I thought the object labelled "CABOOSE" (because that's what it looks like to me) is near the very-evident water tower on the S side of NSP and the W side of Little Neck Parkway, but that's fairly far east of FLB and tall and thin, so I doubt it.

13 Apr 03 - Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe's (or, far more likely, his predecessor, Henry J. Stern's) wonderful NYC Parks Department did a great thing for LIMP lovers but, unfortunately, they goofed badly!  Some well-meaning soul created and posted a historical placard on the NW railing of the foot/bikebridge over Francis Lewis Boulevard (about halfway between Union Turnpike and the 73rd Street overpass and immediately E of 199th Street, opposite 75th Avenue).  The problem is that the "historical" information thereon is just plain WRONG!  Wrong in so many details as to defy easy explanation.  Here's the placard (as of 13 Apr 2003):

FLB Bridge Placard
(13 Apr 2003 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[Thumbnail image; click on the picture for a larger image]

It's neither in line with the neighboring stanchion nor vertical, and the text did not invert and enlarge well:

FLB Bridge Placard Text
(from 13 Apr 03 photo by and © 2003 S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

so here's the text as transcribed exactly (but with some errors highlighted) by me:

Cunningham Park

    The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, also known as the Long Island Motor Parkway, is one of the
most historic roads in New York City.  Originally built in 1908 as a racecourse by the railroad
mogul and financier William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (1849-1920), the Parkway would later develop
into a major public thoroughfare.  It was one of the first concrete raods in the nation, the first
highway to use bridges and overpasses, and the first high-speed route from Queens to Suffolk
County.  The Parkway's largely untold history is filled with intrigue: race cars, bootlegging,
historic preservation efforts, and public controversy.

    William K. Vanderbilt, who descended from the famous railroad developer Cornelius Vanderbilt
(1794-1877), entered the family business and became vice-president of the New York Central and Hudson
River Railroad in 1877.  He [His son, W. K. V., Jr.,] became a serious devotee of a
brand-new mode of high-velocity transportation, the automobile.  After two years of organizing his own
automobile race, the Vanderbilt Cup (1904-1910), over narrow local roads, Vanderbilt decided to build a
new, limited-access landscaped parkway between Queens and Riverhead.  In 1906, along
with other financiers, corporation heads, and car manufacturers, Vanderbilt formed the Long
Island Motor Parkway Corporation.  The first ten-mile stretch of the Parkway opened in 1908.
Two years later, after two spectators were killed during a Vanderbilt Cup race, the New York
State Legislature banned motorcar racing on the Parkway{*}.

    By World War I (1914-1918), the completed 48-mile, privately-owned Parkway was open
to the public as a toll road.  It was used primarily by New York City socialites travelling to their
summer estates on Long Island.  After 1920, the year of Vanderbilt's death and the dawn
of Prohibition, the toll road acquired the nickname Rumrunner's Road, because bootleggers often
used it to outrun the police.

    When Robert Moses (1888-1981) developed the reduced-fare Northern State Parkway in
1929, the Long Island Motor Parkway began to lose revenues, and it shut down in April 1938.
Three months later, Moses transformed the Queens section of the Parkway into the Queens
Bicycle Path.  Various state and county agnecies converted sections of the remaining Long
Island Motor Parkway into parkland and trails that are now maintyained by parks, and left others
as roadway.  Of the few bridges remaining from the Parkway's original 65, Parks maintains both
the Fresh Meadows and Hollis Hills Bridges.  The stretch running through nearby Cunningham
Park is now a tree-lined path used by joggers, walkers, and bicyclists, and part of the NYC
Greenway program, a planned network of over 350 miles of landscaped bicycle and pedestrian
paths throughout the City.
    {* - news to me.}

    [Thanks to Motor Parkway Friend Michael Spiteri for noting this oddity.]

The placard, which appears on Park's wonderful parks signage pages at:

http://nycgovparks.org/sub_your_park/historical_signs/hs_historical_sign.php?id=12916 ,

is dated "December, 2001".  Parks Commissioner Benepe has been notified.  (05 Jun 2004)

To begin with, of course, the road was NEVER the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, it was NOT built in 1908 as a racecourse, Willie K. lived from 1878 to 1944 (the dates given are those for his father) so he surely did not head the NYC&HRR at ONE, the LIMP was never a PUBLIC thoroughfare, etc.  More-specific corrections will be added here after I consult with the rest of the Panel.

Just as I "discovered" the VANDERBILT MOTOR PARKWAY/Cunningham Park placard, above, I now know of another one titled "MOTOR PARKWAY - 14.049 acres" (thanks to Panel Associate Howard Kroplick):


14.049 acres

    This park is named for the Long Island Motor
Parkway; a private toll road built in 1908 by the young
auto enthusiast William K. Vanderbilt Jr. (1849-1920).
One of the first concrete roads in the nation, the parkway
originally stretched 48 miles from Queens to Lake
Ronkonkoma.  While only portions remain, the section
that begins here and ends at Cunningham Park has been
restored as part of the NYC Greenway program, a planned
network of over 350 miles of landscaped bicycle and
pedestrian paths throughout the city.

    The history of Motor Parkway begins with young
“Willie” Vanderbilt’s fascination with fast driving.
As the great-grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt
(1794-1877), the shipping and railroad giant of the
19th century, William took over the family business
and was the last in his line to head the New York
Central Railroad.  In an era when automobiles were
still rare, Vanderbilt had a passion for racing and to
that end, he established the Vanderbilt cup races in
1904 to spur enthusiasm for the sport in America.

    Over the next three years Vanderbilt held his races
on 30 miles of local roads in Nassau County.  After a
1906 car crash in which two race spectators were killed,
Vanderbilt imagined a landscaped parkway where banked
curves and overpasses would allow for speeds up to 60
miles per hour without creating a danger to pedestrians.

    On June 6, 1908 construction began on what was to
become the nation’s first long road featuring
reinforced concrete and overpasses to eliminate crowded
intersections.  To cover construction costs, two-dollar
tolls were collected at 12 “toll lodges” designed by
John Russell Pope (1874-1937), the New York architect
who planned the Museum of Natural History in Manhattan
and the National Gallery in Washington D.C.  The first
ten-mile section of the road was opened in time for the
1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race, which a quarter-million fans
attended.  The races continued there until 1910, when
four spectators were killed and twenty others were
injured as a result of a car crash.  The State
Legislature banned racing outside of racetracks,
effectively ending the Vanderbilt cup races.

    Throughout the 1920s, the Motor Parkway remained
popular among socialites who used it to travel to their
Long Island estates or to take leisurely weekend drives.
During Prohibition, the parkway gained a reputation as
the “rumrunners” road because it was privately owned
and operated and thus outside of official police
jurisdiction.  With cars becoming more affordable, use
of the road increased and Vanderbilt lowered the toll
to just one dollar.

    In 1929, New York State Parks Commissioner Robert
Moses (1888-1981) began planning for the construction
of the Northern State Parkway through Nassau County.
Vanderbilt offered to sell the parkway to Moses, but
the Commissioner refused to include the antiquated road
in the modern network of parkways he had designed to
link the five boroughs and relieve ever-increasing
traffic.  Vanderbilt reduced the toll to forty cents,
but by 1937 he was no longer able to compete with the
new, toll-free Northern State Parkway.  In April 1938,
the Motor Parkway was officially closed.  Three months
later, Robert Moses opened the Queens section of the
road as the “Queens Bicycle Path” before an audience of

    Parks rehabilitated this section of the path
through Alley Pond and Cunningham Parks in 1986.  It
was then incorporated into the NYC Greenway program in
1993 as part of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway.  The
Greenway Program, a collaborative effort of the
Department of Transportation, the City Planning Office,
and Parks, is one of the most ambitious networks of
landscaped paths in the nation.

    In 1998, Mayor Giuliani approved $1,072,000 for the
reconstruction of the overpasses at 73rd street, Hollis
Hills Terrace, Frances Lewis Boulevard, and Bell and
Springfield Boulevards.

    December, 2001
Now all I have to do is find and photograph this sign.  It appears on Park's wonderful parks signage pages at:


WHEELER FARMWAY BRIDGE REDIVIVUS! - Early on the morning of 03 May 2008, I got an e-mail inquiry from Ed Murray, a recent Friend of the Motor Parkway Panel, wanting to know if I was aware of a buried underpass under the Motor Parkway in Alley Pond Park west of the Grand Central Parkway, which he'd stumbled upon the day before.  Was I aware?  No.  Was I excited?  YES, indeed!  A quick check with Panelist Al Velocci revealed that founding Panelist Bob Miller had unearthed this years ago and Bob told me that he'd shown a 1938 Parks picture of it at an early slide show of his (could it have been the one to which he invited me which started all this?).  Regardless, Al identified it as the Wheeler Farmway Bridge and it was news to me.  Ed being free, we hiked in there from the Alley Pond parking lot (it's much closer to Springfield Boulevard) the very same day (03 May 2008) and there it was, just as advertised and just where I'd tromped over it unaware for years!

The bridge is located between the stub ends of 226th Street and between Springfield Boulevard and Cloverdale Boulevard (and the Grand Central/Cross Island Parkway complex to the east):

(04/21 May 2008 map by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)

Vanderbilt had to provide unimpeded access to many farms and other properties before the LIMP corporation could buy RoW; the best-known extant example may well be the bridge in Old Bethpage Village Restoration.  This "new find" is such; in order to buy a RoW across the Wheeler Farm for the 1912 extension westward from Lakeville Road (the Nassau-Queens County line) to Rocky Hill Road (today's Springfield Boulevard), the LIMP had to provide a bridge.

Although it LOOKS as if it was a bridge over 226th Street, there was no such street there in 1911-12 and Bob Miller tells me there was a school on the south side and playing fields on the north in 1938.

Ed had noticed the bridge curbs, a dead give-away once one realizes at what one is looking!  The 3' concrete additions stop just short of this area.  In addition, there is an otherwise-inexplicable rise in the RoW eastward from the Springfield Boulevard overpass.

All I had handy was my cell-phone camera, so here are a few shots I squeezed off; first views of the S curb (looking SW) and the N curb (to the NE):

(03 May 2008 photos by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

The curbs have a slight "^" shape, to shed water, and, on close examination, show the stubs ends of the standard LIMP pipe railings.

Next, I stood in the dead center of the bridge and took a shot looking W to the Springfield Boulevard overpass and one to the E looking toward the curve just before Grand Central Parkway (there's actually a cyclist approaching on that shot):

WheelerW WheelerE
(03 May 2008 photos by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

Finally, I took a locator photo looking SSW at the chimney marked "A" on the photo and on the locator map, above; it's the angled apartment house just W of 226th Street, NOT the one parallel to the LIMP and E of 226th:

(03 May 2008 photo by and © S. Berliner, III - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed picture for a larger image]

Ed had a digital camera with him and sent me a whole slew of hi-res pix the next day; I have drastically reduced them to save memory.  He also was dressed for "spelunking" and is a heck of a lot more agile than I, so he climbed in under the bridge with his camera to take pix and establish that there was a date (1911) cast in the W abutment; here are the S curb from downhill, looking NW and NE and the date, somewhat obscured by leachants:

EdMunder11 EdMunder12 EdMunder1 EdMunder2
(03 May 2008 photos by E. Murray - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

Next, the S abutment and the date seen more clearly, plus the underside, showing the same steel beam construction as the older bridges to the E but with barrel vaulting, unlike the others:

EdMunder6 EdMunder3 EdMunder4 EdMunder5
(03 May 2008 photos by E. Murray - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

That leachant makes the concrete look like a side of beef!  Back up topside, here's the view N into the hole - YUCK!  That place needs serious attention.  Then, over to the N side where you can see that the W end of the curbing has fallen away:

EdMtop7 EdMtop9
(03 May 2008 photos by E. Murray - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

There is only a slight opening on the N side; Ed saw a tiny trace of light from underneath.  The NW wing wall is also undermined.

Ed also took locator shots; here are the views from dead center facing W toward Springfield Boulevard (with an enlargement from the hi-res. original showing a stroller beyond the Springfield Boulevard bridge) and facing E toward the curve before Grand Central, plus a view N over the N curb and through the trees at a house (barely visible) on the S side of 77th Avenue opposite 226th Street which has two satellite dishes on its roof (NOT visible in the picture) and a view S of that chimney "A" (dead center - the blank is where my red nose was - it made me look like a drunk, which I'm really not!):

EdMtop8 EdMtop8x EdMtop14
EdMtop15 EdMtop16
(03 May 2008 photos by E. Murray - all rights reserved)
[click on the thumbnailed pictures for larger images]

Now, all I have to do is get NYC Parks clean the place up (or allow us to), cart away the debris, seal cracks in the topside that allow water through to leach out onto the abutments, and reinstall pipe railings.

To save space on this page, I refer you to the LIMP Index Page.


  What happens to all this when I DIE or (heaven forfend!) lose interest?  See LEGACY.


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