Jun 25 2011

Village of Garden City to Study Preservation of a Section of the Long Island Motor Parkway

Thanks to the efforts of Garden City resident and Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society member Cyril Smith, the Village of Garden City has taken action to study the preservation of a section of the Motor Parkway near Clinton Road. Reports from Garden City Life and Garden City Patch:


Garden City News

Mayor Appoints LI Motor Parkway Committee

2011-06-24 / Front Page

By Stephanie Petrellese

Mayor Donald T. Brudie appointed a committee to study the potential restoration of the portion of the Long Island Motor Parkway located in the Village of Garden City at the June 16th meeting of the Garden City Board of Trustees. Trustee Brian Daughney will be the chairperson, and Trustees Dennis Donnelly and Laurence Quinn will serve as members.

The Long Island Motor Parkway was originally built to provide William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. a landscaped roadway where he could drive and race his vehicles. It also provided an important vehicular connection from Queens through both Nassau and Suffolk Counties. The original parkway running through Nassau County was 27 miles long.
The appointment came after an official request was made by Trustee Andrew Cavanaugh. He asked that a committee be appointed to study the area’s historical significance, and the potential establishment of a historical display. “It might be a very, very meaningful activity for this Board,” he said. Trustee Cavanaugh added that it might prove to be beneficial to the “story of the Village.”

Cavanaugh is anxious for the Village to “get ahead of the county” in its own restoration initiative, which was announced by Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano at a press conference on June 3. The Nassau County Department of Public Works is working on the initial framework stage of the project, which will one day provide a recreational path for hikers and bicyclists. According to the project’s Web site, the trail “will provide an important alternative transportation link between communities, open space resources and employment centers for those wishing to walk or bike through Nassau County to these destinations.”

Deputy Mayor John Watras said he was “amazed” when he took a walking tour of the area last year and suggested the possibility of restoration. He gave the Garden City Bird Sanctuary as an example of land that was restored successfully. Cavanaugh said he would like a portion of the land restored to its original appearance.

Watras said he was disturbed that some trees have been removed by the Long Island Power Authority in the Motor Parkway and Vanderbilt Parkway area. “We’re disappointed in that, for sure,” he said.

Second Deputy Mayor Nicholas Episcopia suggested the committee find out where the boundary line is located between the county and Village portion. “It is a very interesting piece of property,” he said. Episcopia said there is a pond on the property.

The portion of the trail located in and near Garden City is found on the eastbound section of Old Country Road, which then turns south to run along Clinton Road to meet the LIMP alignment at the original Motor Parkway Lodge. The trail will follow this original alignment east to the Roosevelt Field Mall area. The Motor Parkway Trail will follow the original LIMP alignment east to run along South Street at the southern edge of the Roosevelt Field Mall.

Diverging from the original LIMP alignment, the Motor Parkway Trail will turn south with South Street to Stewart Avenue. Here, the trail will follow the proposed Emerald Ribbon Pathway that runs south along Quentin Roosevelt Blvd. and along the Charles Lindbergh Blvd. leading east to Merrick Avenue. After crossing, the trails will head north along Merrick Avenue and Eisenhower Park.

Althea Robinson, executive director of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, reminded the Board that the Chamber moved the original toll lodge from Vanderbilt Court to its current location on Seventh Street in 1989. Residents are encouraged to visit a mini-museum located in the lodge, which provides a history of the parkway. They can also ask to view a video of the parkway’s history made by Village historian John Ellis Kordes. The Garden City Toll Lodge is the last vestige of the parkway to be authentically restored.

Mayor Brudie suggested the committee contact Village history buffs Cyril Smith and William Bellmer for assistance. Smith offered to take committee members on a walking tour of the area. He said people who have taken the tour have seen the area really has the potential to be a historical gem for the public, especially school children.

“There are opportunities here where the Village can shine,” Smith said. “I feel this is important because I think you deal mainly in very weighty issues which often have a negativity to it, which is unfortunate. I think this Village has many assets which you as a Board, with the staff and with residents, can bring to the fore, and add a spirit de corps and a prestige to the Village, and I hope that can go forward.”

For more information on the county’s plan, visit www.vhb.com/LIMP.

In other historical news, Smith reported that he is working with U.S. Post Office officials to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first airmail flight leaving from Garden City. He is hoping to have a special ceremony at the Garden City Post Office on September 23. More details will be forthcoming. Residents are encouraged to visit the post office this month to see a special exhibit on the upcoming centennial.

Garden City Patch


The Garden City Chamber of Commerce moved from its original site on Vanderbilt Court in the eastern section of Garden City to 230 Seventh Street, home of the historic Toll Lodge, in March of 1989. The Toll Lodge, which abuts Parking Field 6E, east of Franklin Avenue, has served as Chamber headquarters for 20+ years. Courtesy Chamber of Commerce

Efforts Underway to Preserve Long Island Motor Parkway

Mayor appoints trustees committee to explore how section of roadway in village could be properly recognized.

By Carisa Giardino June 23, 2011

Earlier this month county executive Ed Mangano announced a "vision plan" establishing the Motor Parkway Trail, which he says will link several communities together through hiking and biking routes and will trace the original route of the famed Long Island Motor Parkway (also known as the Vanderbilt Parkway).

Mangano said the trail would also help promote his Fit Nassau initiative aimed at making Nassau the "healthiest county in the nation" through the promotion of daily exercise.

“This cooperation between community leaders, county representatives and New York State has resulted in the preservation of one of Long Island’s most storied pieces of history,” said Mangano. “Over many years they worked together to establish this trail to the benefit of all Long Islanders.”

The parkway, which Garden City village trustee Andrew Cavanaugh said had an "architectural and even cultural" presence in Garden City, was built by William K. Vanderbilt Jr. Construction began in 1908 and was completed in 1926 when the parkway reached Ronkonkoma. It was the first roadway for automobile use only, and the setting for the famed Vanderbilt Cup races.

"There's an opportunity here for us to get out ahead of the county or work with the county," Cavanaugh said. He, along with trustees Nick Episcopia and John Watras, walked the property last year.

"We were absolutely amazed as to what was there," Watras said. "At some point in the future I would guess we would want to restore it or have something similar to the bird sanctuary."

Episcopia added, "It's an extremely interesting piece of property but what we could not figure out was where the Garden City line ended and where the county portion started. I think it might be an interesting idea if somehow we could find that out during this process...There's a pond in there. There's all sorts of things in there you'd never dreamed would be there."

Cavanaugh suggested the mayor appoint a committee to inquire what kind of recognition could be made. "I know there are citizens very knowledgeable of this," he said, referring to history buffs Cyril Smith and Bill Bellmer. Mayor Don Brudie immediately appointed trustees Brian Daughney (chair), Dennis Donnelly and Laurence Quinn to such a committee.

Early on, access was only provided at a small number of toll booths like the one originally located at Clinton Road at Vanderbilt Court in Garden City. That toll booth was moved from its original location to 230 Seventh Street in 1989 and has served as chamber headquarters for 20+ years.

Althea Robinson, the chamber's longtime executive director, offered the organization's assistance to the newly formed committee. "We have in the conference room in the toll lodge a mini photographic museum which really verfiies and states the whole history of the parkway, the significance of the 12 toll lodges that were there and access to the parkway," she said. "The Garden City toll lodge is the last vestage of the parkway that was authentically restored...John Kordes, our village historian, did do a wonderful video on it so we do have that available for anyone who wants to see it."

According to Mangano, $450,000 in Environmental Bond Act (EBA) monies will fund the project - the formulation of the vision plan, design plans for the demonstration piece and construction of the demonstration piece. An additional $500,000 in EBA funds is "under consideration" for construction, Mangano said.

Smith, who lives on Fourth Street, was at the June 16 board meeting. He applauded trustees for moving on the issue. "As you know it started with some walking tours a number of years ago. Some of the staff here, some of the trustees and some members of the audience have had the opportunity to take these tours. I offer them again because I feel this resource, if it can be properly reviewed by this committee, would gain by having additional suggestions on what can be done with it," he said. "I feel that the people who have walked it have seen the opportunities that this asset, currently a wasting one, can be improved on ... There are opportunities here gentlemen that I think the village can shine."

County officials said the first phase of the project will be a section of the trail between Carman Avenue and Stewart Avenue and will span about 1.25 miles.

“Progress very often erases parts of history,” said Mangano. “Projects like this one can ensure that history is not forgotten however, and establishing this trail will keep a part of Long Island’s history alive for many more generations.”

Links to related posts on VanderbiltCupRaces.com:

Archives: Motor Parkway-Garden City

Nassau County Website: “Vision Plan for Motor Parkway Trail”

Archives: Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation



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