May 07 2014

News 12 Long Island Hidden Past: “The Long Island Motor Parkway & the Vanderbilt Cup Races”

Danielle Campbell, morning anchor for News12 Long Island, reported this wonderful 2-minute "Hidden Past" segment on the Long Island Motor Parkway and the Vanderbilt Cup Races.


Howard Kroplick

Motor Parkway is first to serve as Vanderbilt Cup roadway

Published: May 7, 2014 11:28 AM


ROSLYN - In 1906, the rich and famous flocked to the Long Island Gold Coast, including a man obsessed with a new invention at the time, the automobile. William K. Vanderbilt the Second decided to launch the Vanderbilt Cup, which attracted drivers from across the country to Long Island. However, after a deadly accident, Vanderbilt invested in a main drag across Long Island just for racing – the Long Island Motor Parkway.

North Hempstead historian Howard Kroplick explains that after the deadly accident where a spectator was killed, Vanderbilt and his associates came up with the idea for the Motor Parkway. The first of its kind in the nation, the Motor Parkway stretched from Queens to Lake Ronkonkoma. Kroplick says that when it wasn’t used for racing, it was a toll road.

Across Long Island there are remnants of the Parkway, including portions still used today and a bridge at Old Bethpage Village.

The Vanderbilt Cup helped launch the careers of car makers, including Henry Ford and Louie Chevrolet.

Old Bethpage Motor Parkway Bridge

Deadman's Curve, Bethpage

Howard Kroplick & Al Velocci in the Black Beast


May 07 2014 Howard Kroplick 11:26 PM

From Bob Havlicek:

A 200 foot section of this road runs through my backyard. A few years ago, I found a metal wheel hub, from a Simplex, circa 1910. A tribute to the engineering of that time, this part is in such good condition, it could still be used today to hold a wheel on that car, even after being buried for almost 100 years. I currently use it as an ash tray.
The Simplex was a luxury automobile manufactured briefly in NY.

May 07 2014 Howard Kroplick 11:27 PM

From Michael Cedeno:
Great piece of Long Island history. Bring back the race tracks!

May 08 2014 Ted 5:32 PM

Bob Havlcek- Nice find and thanks for that site.  Howard- That was great with News 12.

May 08 2014 Sharon Mandel 7:02 PM

Nice clip.  Thanks for posting.

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