Mar 23 2012

An Old Bethpage Mystery Solved at the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society Meeting

A decades old mystery of the location of the Motor Parkway through Old Bethpage Village Restoration was apparently solved at the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society meeting last Wednesday. Here are the highlights of the meeting attended by 42 people.


Howard Kroplick

I opened the meeting reviewing the status of various projects concerning the preservation of the Motor Parkway including restoring the Old Bethpage Motor Parkway Bridge. A view of the bridge and its embankments as seen on March 19, 2012. Next steps include continuing cleanup of the area, resurfacing of the cement and painting the bridge. The next cleanup date has been scheduled for Saturday, April 21, 2012 beginning at 9:00 am. Historian and my favorite co-author Al Velocci shared his findings on "Researching the Motor Parkway Right-Of-Way in the Old Bethpage Village Restoration". The decades-long discussion focused on the direction of the Motor Parkway west of the Old Bethpage Motor Parkway Bridge. Did LIMP go up the hill turning slightly to the left, go to grade level turning to the right, or go straight ahead through the hill? A poll of the audience showed that 62% of the audience believed the Parkway went up the hill, 19% believed it went to grade level and 19% believed it went straight ahead somehow going through the hill. After extensive research, Al concluded that the Motor Parkway went straight ahead and was buried under a man-made hill created in 1970. Key to his research was a discussion with retired Nassau County Museum Services curator Gary Hammond. Gary was at the opening of the Old Bethpage Village Restoration and had first-hand knowledge of the Motor Parkway section in this area. He recalled the hill was created to block the view of the Oyster Bay incinerator seen to the south. The road heading up the hill was used by trucks to build the hill and plant trees. The hill in which the Motor Parkway is buried can be seen in this recent photo. Note the hidden smokestacks on the right. Al further confirmed his findings using surveys and aerials. This 1907 survey showed the Motor Parkway did not curve left or right in this section. This 1950 aerial indicates the Motor Parkway between Claremont Avenue and the Old Bethpage Motor Parkway bridge was elevated but near grade level. This wonderful 1927 aerial shows that the embankment of the Claremont Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge headed down to grade level. Another 1935 aerial does not indicate a hill after the Claremont Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge. Following the presentation and lively discussion, everyone agreed that this is the apparent right-of-way for the Motor Parkway...buried under a hill for 42 years. Super job, Al!!

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Mar 26 2012 Denis Byrne 7:51 AM

Very cool findings. Are the plans to leave it alone, or to someday excavate the rest of the Motor Parkway under that hill? Since the old incinerator is now obsolete and out of use, they could demolish the smokestacks now anyway.

Mar 26 2012 Mark Patrick 8:56 AM

Great research, Howard.

Mar 26 2012 Jeremy 12:03 PM

You could just take out enough of the fill to expose the parkway.

Good job on the research.

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