Jun 22 2016

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” XI: Old Bethpage Bridge

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 11th post of this series, Sammy and Dave continued their exploration in the Old Bethpage Village Restoration.
 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

Battle Row is fairly interesting - lots of posts lying in the weeds. The Motor Parkway pretty quickly makes a left hand turn over Spagnoli Road - former bridge location, nothing remains and into the Old Bethpage Village Restoration. This dirt road leads up to the bridge.

Concrete posts off the side of the road.

Motor Parkway historic marker in Old Bethpage Village Restoration placed by the Ford Model-A Club.

The second remaining Nassau County Bridge in Bethpage Restoration. Great spot. Unlike the Old Courthouse Road Bridge where the cars went under the bridge, this bridge the cars went over and 105 years later it's still intact!

Sammy and the 1910 date stamp.

Very interesting to me that this bridge was built AFTER the Old Courthouse Bridge despite it being about a mile away from the Parkway ground-breaking. I guess the priority was to go west and get those city people out to Long Island, and pay tolls!!!


Jun 23 2016 Dave Russo 2:15 PM

It’s so appropriate that this bridge is in the bethpage restoration. The whole place revolves around going back in time and tucked in the back corner of the place (some of the people that work there didn’t even know about it) is the first paved road and one of the two bridges left in Nassau. Hopefully Nassau cty will appoint landmark status to this bridge as it has to old courthouse road.

If you’ve never been to this location you have to go. When you go here for the first time you get goose bumps.

Jul 01 2016 Tom 6:53 AM

Yes Dave, especially when you stand under the 1910 date right?

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