Dec 15 2018

Updated: My Favorite Queens Motor Parkway Images for the New York City Parks Department

New York City Parks Department is hoping to develop new historic markers along the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway and has asked for my assistance. Here are a some of my favorite Queens Motor Parkway images.


Howard Kroplick

Bike Path Opening- July 8,1938

On July 8, 1938, Commissioner Robert Moses and the New York Department of Parks opened a 2 1/2 mile bike path on the former right-of-way of the Motor Parkway beginning in Fresh Meadows.

Union Turnpike under Construction- June 24, 1938

Aerial of Hollis Hills looking east taken on June 24,1938. The severe 90-degree curve of the Motor Parkway can be seen in the lower left section of the aerial. Note that Union Turnpike was still under construction and Francis Lewis Boulevard still has not been built.  Courtesy of the New York City Parks Department.

Hollis Hills

This 1941 aerial shows the Motor Parkway in Hollis Hills looking east. The photo is courtesy of the Fairchild Collection at the Benjamin and Gladys Thomas Air Photo Archives located in the UCLA Department of Geography.

The abutments for this bridge were built for the Central R.R. of Long Island in the 1800s for a future road that was never built.  In an attempt to save money, the Motor Parkway utilized these existing abutments for their own bridge, added a trestle and curved the road from the original plan.  The trestle was placed on the abutments by the Motor Parkway in 1925 and likely opened in 1926.

Springfield Boulevard

This 1924 Motor Parkway survey documented the Rocky Hill Road Bridge, the two entrances and the Rocky Hill Lodge. Courtesy of Roy Knoernschild.

Officially opened on July 1, 1928, the Rocky Hill "toll lodge" clearly was only a toll booth across both lanes of the Motor Parkway. In the above photo, gatekeeper Sidney A. Jones was standing on the right side of the booth. Jones manned this location until the parkway closed in 1938.

 Three friends were having fun at the Rocky Hill Road entrance to the Motor Parkway (Springfield Avenue, Queens) on April 10, 1931.

The sign read:
To All points On Long Island
One Way Ticket   Car and Party $1.00

Grand Central Parkway Motor Parkway Bridge

The bridge in the background carried the Grand Central Parkway over the Motor Parkway. It was built by Robert Moses in 1932-1933. The posts for a bridal path bridge also built by Robert Moses can also be seen in the foreground.

Wheeler Farmway Bridge #2

In 1911, the Wheeler Brothers sold 13.16 acres to the Motor Parkway for the right-of-way through their property.    As part of the sale, the Motor Parkway was required to build two farmway bridges to connect the north and south sections of the Wheeler Brothers farm. The second farmway bridge was located west of Alley Road (now Winchester Boulevard).

To further beautify the bridge, Robert Moses instructed the New York State Department of Parks to construct a brick covering on the bridge and its abutments. Photo courtesy of Margaret and George Vitale from slides created by Lester Cutting.

Winchester Boulevard Motor Parkway Bridge

The first bridge over the Winchester Boulevard (renamed from Alley Road) was built in 1912 and used railroad-type trestle construction as required by New York City.

In 1928, New York State decided to widen Union Turnpike to make it a major east-west road in Queens. However, the planned expanded Union Turnpike just east of Winchester Boulevard was blocked by the Motor Parkway.
With the cooperation of the Motor Parkway, Inc. and nearby Creedmoor State Hospital, New York City agreed to move a section of the Motor Parkway further north of the original location. These surveys, images and aerials document the relocation of the Motor Parkway in the Creedmoor section of Queens.

For a period of time in 1931 and 1932, there were two Motor Parkway bridges over Winchester Boulevard, the railroad-type original built in 1912 and the new concrete bridge further north as seen in this photo. This bridge used the exact same design as the three concrete bridges built over 73rd Avenue, Hollis Hills Terrace and Springfield Boulevard.


Dec 16 2018 Joseph DeBono 6:14 AM

Those are all great images Howard, of the Motor Parkway in Queens. Haven’t seen them in a while.Thanks for showing them.

Dec 16 2018 Art Kleiner 6:28 AM

Howard, is there anything we can do to support the efforts to get historical markers placed? 

Howard Kroplick

Art, will do. Right now they are in the early planning stages of the project.

Dec 16 2018 Howard Kroplick 1:46 PM

Update: Captions have been added to the images

Dec 19 2018 Tom 1:29 PM

The first two photos are nice and clear.

Dec 25 2018 Tom Padilla 11:23 AM

Regarding Francis Lewis Blvd, it was previously named Cross Island Boulevard, all the way to Whitestone. My great grandparents lived on it in Whitestone. The Whitestone portion was formerly North 11th Street. And going back further I believe Francis Lewis Blvd followed the ancient Whitestone Road (as in the road “to Whitestone.” I could be wrong about some of this. Various censuses confirm some of the name changes.

I live a stone’s throw from the Western Terminus in Fresh Meadows and the 73rd Ave bridge. It’s wonderful Parks is doing this. Is it the Queens Historical Society involved?

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