Oct 15 2015

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” VI: Garden City

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 sixth post of this series, Sammy and Dave explore the Long Island Motor Parkway in Garden City.


Howard Kroplick

Sammy & Dave's "Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure"

By Dave Russo

April 5, 2015

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.
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.
 Dave & Sammy Russo

We proceeded over Old Country Road into Garden City. The "Mayan Ruins" partially built bridge just north of Transverse Road.

The section of the Motor Parkway in Arthur Jasper's backyard on Russell Road (he let us in!!).

The restored Garden City Toll Lodge

Vanderbilt Court and Clinton Road

The Motor Parkway's General Manager's Office, now a private home.

Looking up onto the Clinton Road Bridge embankment.

Looking north from the embankment- one of the many houses built on top of history

Bridge guard rails with wood connectors behind the General Manager's Office.

The remains of another wall used to block the Motor Parkway after it was closed in 1938.


Oct 01 2015 Howard Kroplick 2:38 PM

From Chet:

I look forward to the arrival of the Vanderbilt Cup Races each week, maybe its being a native Long Islander and maybe it is my first job after college and the War with a surveyor (Holzmacker) in Bethpage where we came a across vestige’s of the Motor Parkway.

My father drove the Motor Parkway, although I did not.  I looked upon it as a faded lady of the night, with it’s very steep banked curves, narrow pavement and it’s constant encroaching overgrowth.


Oct 01 2015 frank femenias 3:57 PM

Awesome opportunity to stand on Arthur Jasper’s real piece of the Motor Parkway in his quiet backyard, ~when then in the distance a gas powered chugga can be heard, slowly approaching and getting louder and louder, then whizzes by with a hand wave and smile towards the horizon. Nice job Sam and Dave, and thanks for sharing the adventure. Looking forward for more of the road ahead and hope you’ve encountered friendly and hospitable locals as Mr. Jasper. Keep on ridin’ guys.

Oct 02 2015 Brian D McCarthy 12:31 PM

Great photos Dave and Sam! I like that Mr. Jasper seal coated his preserved section. I look forward to the next series!

Oct 02 2015 Dave Russo 11:44 PM

Love discussing the road. It is great to have a forum like this with so many enthusiasts and people with obvious long term knowledge of the Motor Parkway. We did meet so many great people along the way. So lets start a little discussion:

1. Why is there no date on the bridge over the train track in Roslyn?

2. Is there a date on the unfinished bridge at the “Mayan Ruins?” Does the entire remainder of the unfinished bridge remain under ground? I read somewhere that it was thought to be all there? How did the ground get built up so high around it? And how on earth did all of those homeowners leave that there? I’m so glad they did but it’s just hard to believe it remains!

3. Is there any knowledge of who currently lives in the Managers House in GC? I wonder if there are any great items in there? There has to be! I might have to ring the bell next time over there.

4. Arthur Jasper was very nice. He not only showed us the road in his backyard, and confirmed the $175 purchase story that was offered to everyone with road in their backyard, and confirmed he is the only one with remaining road that he is aware of, but he is an avid collector in general with some great Civil War artifacts in his home. Thanks for the tour Arthur!

5. There are some very decent road patches north Westbury Ave. Very easily accessible and worth a look.

6. The Clinton Road bridge remnants with Managers house still there is a screaming landmark location. Original posts with wire as you see in the cover picture is awesome. The road is great there. This is also very easily accessible via car - just park on Raymond Court and start exploring. A new house has been built right next to the parkway and they took down about 5-6 original posts while in construction. From Raymond Ct walk west back towards the bridge only - there’s nothing really to see to the east. This, along with the Roslyn Road section are the two best places to bring first timers to get them an introduction in my opinion. It’s a great location.

Sammy’s favorite location is still pending…......

Oct 05 2015 James (and...Gram) 8:19 AM

As Howard can attest…this all reminds me so much of some adventures I shared with my own son Gram just a few years ago. Precious times. We both remain terrific fans of all of Howard’s efforts, yours and all of the deep insight always afforded fans of the Motor Parkway! As a youngster myself I spent many hours biking the remains of the road specific to the Alley Pond area. Such a deep and rewarding history and heritage! It’s the wonderful “Beast” (as in Black Beast!) in all of us.

Oct 06 2015 frank femenias 2:40 AM

Dave, you’ve brought up some good points. I thought I saw a cornerstone through the foliage at the Mayan Ruins site but struck out after sifting and zooming in. Of course nothing beats being at the actual site (Private property). Will keep posting any extras discovered.

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