Nov 11 2015

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” VII: Westbury to Levittown

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.


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: 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.


Nov 11 2015 Brian D McCarthy 11:05 PM

Hi Dave and Sam. Your dead on right about the stretch of businesses R/O Stewart Ave, parallel with the Meadowbrook Pkwy. Kind of like Fort Knox. The one photo in Levittown with the cracked pavement was the location of a past school. I guess you witnessed the new housing construction further east. I would check out the LIMP remnants while working for LILCO/LIPA, but you and your son are exploring on your own time. That’s true dedication.

Nov 12 2015 Dave Russo 4:03 PM


I have since returned a few times to explore/hunt for remnants behind the businesses on Stewart Ave next to the Meadowbrook. Total waste of time. Nothing to see. The Parkway might be buried honestly as it seems like the Meadowbrook was “dug” so they might have just thrown all the dirt on the sides and covered the Parkway completely? Maybe it’s under several feet of dirt but not worth exploring in case you were thinking about it.

The parkway cuts through Eisenhower Park - we looked in wooded areas just over fences but nothing to see in the park.

As Howard noted a few months ago, Salisbury Park Drive now has Vanderbilt historical signs on it. Paved walkway next to park. At least it’s acknowledgement.

Once you cross over the Wantagh there are old wood fence post remnants on the side of the road. Not sure if they are Vanderbilt related? Didn’t take pics. Sorry. Next time!

I sent a photo to Howard of THE exact location (according to Wayne’s online Motor Parkway map) of the Grandstand location. I would think this would be a great spot to bring some real quality metal detector equipment to and see what remains one could uncover. When I retire one day!

Not the most interesting section of remaining road in this part of the journey, but Bethpage is coming up and that is worth the wait.

Nov 12 2015 Dave Russo 8:11 PM

Thanks Brian.

You obviously have a long history of parkway observation. I’m wondering what stretch of it intrigued you the most?

All others feel free to chime in as well with your opinions!!

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

Nov 13 2015 Brian d mccarthy 11:58 AM

Thank you, Dave. The stretch of the LIMP in North Hills ( East and West of Shelter Rock Rd ) was my favorite. The ROW E/O the substation would get quite muddy though, tough going even with 4WD. I was glad with the decision to give the Old Courthouse Rd bridge historical status. My pickup could pass under it, the bucket trucks could access opposite the bridge by entering the ROW from New Hyde Park Rd. So glad that Sam Berliner and Howard Kroplick have such informative websites about the LIMP ( Sam also has a LIRR website, I’m sure you realized that the Stewart RR ROW is near the LIMP ROW in areas).

Nov 14 2015 John Kelly 8:30 PM

There was a gatehouse and some roadway for the LIMP located on Vanderbilt Court just south of Stewart Ave. on Clinton Road when my sister owned th adjacent property around 1977. It may be gone but worth a look! Also I remember them taking down the overpass on Roslyn road near Robbins drive, but the abutments may still be there.

Nov 15 2015 Greg Taistinas 11:57 AM

There is a stretch of motor parkway that cuts through the northern part of the Red Course in Eisenhower Park! If you walk through the fence where they’ve piled up the tree debri from Super Storm Sandy near the Merrick Ave entrance into the park, the parkway lines up to the entrance of the parkway by the bank and cuts across the course to exactly where it would join with Salisbury Park Drive. It’s still in use as a cart path and park workers path! They drive on it without realizing they’re driving on a historical race course!

Nov 15 2015 S. Berliner, III 1:59 PM

“Turn back, oh man” (and boy)!  Climb the embankment at Clinton Road and spend a good bit of time in the very short stretch between Clinton across Raymond Court to the southwest access to Roosevelt Field.  Pavement, posts, and twist wire.  Also, go in on Vanderbilt Court for the Super’s house.  While in the area, run up to Transverse Road between Russell Road and Pell Terrace; on the north side are the partially-buried abutments of the never-built “Mayan Ruins” bridge.  See Howard’s 28 Sep 2010 blog and my <> page at “The LIMP bridge that wasn’t! ” (use Sam’s best appeal to gain access).  Slow down, guys, and smell the roses.  Sam, III

Nov 15 2015 Cecelia Sommers 4:38 PM

Shame on kate murray its all about the money so corrupt there is nothing saved in this town anymore she even tore down a levitt home foe a business I guess the money was for ads for a job she wasn t getting anyhow

Nov 15 2015 S. Berliner, III 4:54 PM

P. S. - Dave and Sam, for more on the Sand Pits bridge, see my same LIMP Bridges page at:<>.  Sam, III

Nov 16 2015 Harley S. Nemzer 3:04 PM

Thank you for a wonderful article and instilling a sense of history in your son; we need more of that!

Nov 16 2015 Dave Russo 4:11 PM

Sam III—- you must have missed the Garden City post previous to this one—we have pics of everything you describe! We leave no rose unsmelled! The Garden City stretch is one of the best. It was past the Raymond Court location heading east through Levittown, not much going on there! But Bethpage is coming!

Feb 15 2017 Dick Ford 3:19 PM

Levittown had easy VMP access under the power lines just northwest of the East Village Green stores back during the 50s and 60s.  It was a great place to collect praying mantis egg cases to sell to interested local gardeners. A Levittown Tribune column by Thomas Cullen’s mom brought this ten-year-old schoolmate lots of business and free advertising. There were also lots of caterpillars and cocoons to be found that sold for a buck apiece at the monthly Lepidoptera Society meetings up north on Jerusalem Avenue near Hicksville High School. . Great Memories from my youth, now that I’m almost seventy!

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