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 seventh post of this series, Sammy and Dave explore the Long Island Motor Parkway from Westbury to Levittown.
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: Not much to see from Raymond Road -- down Stewart Ave proceeding to Merrick Ave -- have to come back one day to really explore behind buildings in area next to Meadowbrook Parkway.
The location of the entrance to the Meadow Brook Lodge is now the ramp entrance to New York Community Bank on Merrick Avenue across from Eisenhower Park.
The same view as seen in 1910.The lodge can be seen in the distance, while the beginning of the parkway bridge over Merrick Avenue is to the right of the three men.
Dave Russo:Then a void of sorts - Salisbury Park Drive, over Wantagh Parkway, over Newbridge Road, the rookies would stay straight here and proceed following powerlines but that is incorrect - bang a left and head up Carnation Road and then through backyards between Orchid Rd and Woodcock Lane.
Levittown peeks - What were these two spots? Near grandstand area so it had me wondering.
Near grandstand area so it had me wondering.
Grandstand marker - when we first went here over the summer the man who lives next to the sign asked us what we were doing. The sign was completely covered by branches. He got out his saw and cut them all away and said we were the first ones EVER that came around looking for the Parkway - it's sad how little people know about this and how little is preserved. This was maybe the main area of spectator viewership and nobody has a clue.
The approximate location of the grandstand.
New construction of houses on the road-sad.
Pieces of road remnants are everywhere.
These posts are now gone.