Feb 06 2009

The Opening of the Motor Parkway Bike Path- July 9, 1938

The crushing impact of the Depression, coupled with the ever-expanding free New York State Parkway system, effectively sealed the fate of the Long Island Motor Parkway (LIMP). On June 16, 1937, William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. offered the parkway to the public. It officially closed on April 17, 1938 with the right-of-way turned over to Queens, Nassau and Suffolk Counties.

The Queens portion of the parkway was almost immediately turned into a 2 1/2 mile bike path which is still active today The New York Department of Parks announced the opening of a bike path on the Motor Parkway right-of-way less than three months after the parkway closed. See pdf page 37 (June 10, 1938) and pdf page 159 (July 8, 1938) of the Parks Department's' 1938 press release archives for more details.


This image and the above image from the New York City Parks Photo Archive show the opening ceremony on July 9, 1938 that featured 300 to 500 bike riders, Commissioner of Parks Robert Moses and Otto Eisele, president of the Amateur Bicyclists of America. The ceremony was held at the interesection of Horace Harding Boulevard and the Motor Parkway.

Besides documenting the bike path ceremonies, these two photos are significant in that it may be the only known visual records of the western terminus of the Long Island Motor Parkway.


The big question is: What was the function of the kiosk in the background? Who built it and why? Do any LIMP fans out there know? I will share the results of my research on Sunday.


Howard Kroplick


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