Jul 29 2015

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” III: Searingtown

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 third post of this new series, Sammy and Dave continue to explore Searingtown from Shelter Rock Road to I.U. Willets Road.


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


Dave Russo: "Over Shelter Rock Road heading east past the power plant."

"The road continues.."

"Approaching the end where the road goes over the Herricks School entrance-near the I.U. Willets Road and the former bridge."

"Through the bamboo-looking at the former bridge location."

The I.U. Willets Road Motor Parkway Bridge in 1965

"This is Old Searingtown Rd former bridge location - single post remains."



Jul 30 2015 Dave Russo 12:00 AM

My personal favorite stretch of Parkway starts at the Old Courthouse Road bridge (a great location—interesting to think that this bridge was built prior to the Bethpage Restoration bridge which was so much closer to the Parkway ground breaking) heading east, over Shelter Rock Road (over a fence near power station) and then continuing eastward to IU Willets Rd through the bamboo / old bridge location near Herricks HS. It’s a great section of original road that has a very private feel to it, fairly undisturbed with lots of posts, green and quiet. There are many great sections, and several I would recommend to “rookies” before this run, but I really felt thrown back in time for this portion of the journey. Sammy’s favorite location will be disclosed upon its arrival on Howard’s future postings of our adventure! Stay tuned!

Aug 02 2015 Brian D McCarthy 4:16 PM

I know this section well, Dave. About midway in it becomes real muddy during wet weather (I would do LIPA inspections throughout the ROW). I’m guessing the passageway under the LIMP bridge is now the road into the existing school? I remember the old photo from one of Howards farmway bridge series.

Aug 03 2015 Bob Andreocci 9:53 AM

Great post.  I moved to Albertson in March of ‘60.  Walked to Herricks Jr. High along the old Searingtown Rd,“hanging” with some friends on the 3’ high walls that were put up, I guess, after a bridge was taken down.  Kids just sneaking smokes and tales of rolling tires down the hill to Searingtown Rd. NOT ME THOUGH!!!  I think a VFW is now on an area where the LIMP once was.  Ain’t history fun.  Bob Andreocci

Aug 04 2015 L.M.K. 4:43 PM

Very cool journey…..I enjoyed seeing some of it….Thanks for sharing…

Aug 05 2015 Thomas Eichacker 9:43 AM

Great Story I am rather ignorant about the western portion of the motor parkway . This was very interesting to me.

Aug 16 2015 Tom 9:59 AM

Best of luck with future finds!

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