Apr 11 2015

New Series: Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” I: Queens

On April 4, 2015, Dave Russo and his 10-year old son Sam experienced a one-day 38-mile bike tour on the Long Island Motor Parkway. In the first of a new VanderbiltCupRaces.com series, here is Dave and Sammy's wonderful story and photos of the Queens section of their "Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure."


Howard Kroplick

Sammy & Dave's Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure

My name is Dave Russo from Rockville Centre. Last summer my 9-year old son Sammy started playing travel baseball and had his practices were held in Cunningham Park in Queens. During practice I would go on runs through the area and came across the Motor Parkway. So this sparked a little flame in my head as I am a fan of Long Island history in general, specifically the old mansions and remnants of them, etc.
I began to research the Motor Parkway (which I thought was only a Suffolk County thing that is still used today) and came across your site and others and was just amazed at the history of this road. So my son and I took little trips to various locations on the route and familiarized ourselves with the road and what it had to offer, often meeting people who live right on the road itself with zero knowledge of it or it's fantastic history. So we educate them and they are always very impressed.
So the two of us since then have really become Long Island Motor  Parkway buffs and have seen everything there is to see from Queens to Melville. Queens offers one glimpse as NYC has maintained the road. Bridges remain, entrance ramps are there, and posts are everywhere but it was built later and although preserved and nice it lacks that "throwback historical" feel of the original road. In Nassau as you know the power lines were run which in one sense ruined the road but in another preserved the authenticity of the original road and so much of it is still visible and the fact that you can go there and see it and imagine a time when tens of thousands of people were standing behind the posts/fence watching this annual race in otherwise farmland filled Long Island is very impressive. Equally impressive is how few people know of this at all and major locations that should be of historical interest like the bridges, lodges, the grandstand are completely neglected or not known.
So yesterday, we did our long awaited "Vanderbilt Day" where we got up early and got a ride to Queens with our bikes and rode from the Queens beginning all the way to the Maxess Road Bridge in Melville in one day. It was about 38 miles total and we had a great time! (followed by dinner at Friendlys!) .I have become close with an older couple who live directly next to the Old Courthouse Road bridge who took us in for tea and cake and have lived there since farmland was on the other side. We visited Arthur Jesper in Garden City and he showed us his backyard. We have pictures of everything. We have many favorite locations.
I've been visiting your page for a while now, checking for updates all the time. If there are any pics you are in need of or any part of the Parkway that you need further detailed exploration of we are your team! There is nothing that intimidates us and we love the challenge! We trespass the right way, by simply asking permission. We've never been told no. My little 10-year old is pretty cute and nobody can say no to him. The Sand Pits Bridge was high on our list until the recent pics arrived on your site which took the pressure off of us. Those were great to see.
Photo of my boy and myself at the "finish line" Maxess Road bridge Saturday night is above. It was dark then!! Long day!!)
Dave & Sammy Russo

Western Terminus, Fresh Meadows

The starting line.

73rd Avenue Bridge

Our first bridge-73rd Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge

Hollis Hills Motor Parkway Bridge

Entrance ramp to the Motor Parkway

The Hollis Hills Motor Parkway Bridge

Springfield Boulevard Motor Parkway Bridge

The Springfield Boulevard Motor Parkway Bridge

Looking west, the entrance/exit ramps can be seen on the east side of the bridge. This was the exact location of the Rocky Hill Toll Lodge.

Robert Moses' Bridal Path

The bridal path built by Robert Moses.

The Motor Parkway ran over the top of the bridge.

Wheeler Farway Bridge #2

The Wheeler Farmway Bridge #2

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.

Winchester Boulevard

Sammy on the embankment of the Winchester Boulevard and the current end of the Brooklyn-Queens Greenway bike path.

"The End."

Near Little Neck Parkway

Through the "farm "land of the Queens City Farm Museum/Green Meadows Farm


Apr 11 2015 S. Berliner, III 11:00 PM

Please tell “Sam, I”  how especially (and eponymously) proud I am of him (and his dad)!  Sam, III

Apr 11 2015 brian d mccarthy 11:59 PM

Wow, Dave. I have a couple of sons a bit older than Sam. We all like bike riding, but what you and your son accomplished is real dedication. It also demonstrates the maturity that your son posesses. Your a great example of…...It’s not a chore if you love the challenge.

Apr 12 2015 Lee 11:44 AM

This is great !

Apr 12 2015 Gene 12:20 PM

Great little story, but the bike trail actually ends at Winchester Boulevard, not Commonwealth, which is still further east across the Cross Island Parkway and through the hospital grounds.
From Howard Kroplick:

Gene, good catch! Caption has been corrected.

Apr 12 2015 Steve Lambert 1:07 PM

So great to be instilling a love of history in your son and enjoying each others company. Awesome

Apr 13 2015 James J Spina 8:41 AM

Can’t think of a better way for a father and son to “discover” THEIR highway of life. did it with my boy Gram and…we’re still motor parkwaying!

Leave a Comment