Mar 08 2017

Screen Test Request: Film “Green Light: The Story Behind the Long Island Motor Parkway”

Filmmaker Dean Romano is inviting you to screen test and critique a working draft of his documentary "Green Light: The Long Island Motor Parkway".

Dean Romano describes his film as follows:

The movie I'm looking to make is actually a history of Long Island over the course of the 20th century, with the Parkway serving as the main narrative thread.  Robert Moses, the Gold Coast, and Lake Ronkonkoma's history as a summer playground are just a few of the themes I'll be touching on.  My plan is to attack the project in three ways; 1) Using a "Ken Burns" approach, namely through the use of old photos, to tell the story of Willie K. and the Vanderbilts (hoping to get someone from the museum to appear on camera as well); 2) Interviewing people who have connections to the Parkway- whether historical (such as yourself) or personal (people who lived near the Parkway, like me and the guys I grew up with); and 3) a video tour of the Parkway itself, with me and a couple of cameras, beginning in Queens and ending at the Lake.
My goal is to be as historically accurate as possible but not didactic.  I try to be serious about the work but not too serious about myself; a little humor goes a long way.  If you can teach somebody something, great; if you can do it while also making them laugh, more the better.

As you will see, Dean used, with my permission, images and information used on and my two Arcadia books Vanderbilt Cup Races of Long Island and The Long Island Motor Parkway (co-authored with Al Velocci).

Please provide your suggestions and revisions on this working draft in the below Comments section or send an email to I have seen several dates and images that need to be replaced for accuracy which I will post this weekend.

Overall, Dean you are making one of the best documentaries ever on Willie K. , the Vanderbilt Cup Races and the Long Island Motor Parkway. Congrats!


Howard Kroplick

Notes From Howard Kroplick

Dean, excellent job! Here are my comments and suggested revisions:

 0:00 to 1:00: Rather long silent opening without identifying the location. Suggest adding narrartion or  copy "Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum- Former Home of William K. Vanderbilt, Jr."

2:36: "Beating a dead horse" video likely will be missed by most viewers. Suggest remove.

2:43: Remove derogatory term.

3:30: More accurate to say "Village of great Neck Estates" rather than "town of Great Neck".

3:40: Suggest deleting joke.

6:13: Fade out video

11:57: Revise narration.

13:33: Image is from the 1909 Vanderbilt Cup Race. Suggest using an early European city to city race with William K. Vanderbilt Jr. racing

13:23 to 13:34: Needs to be revised.Willie K. was not a spectator but drove succesfully in several European races from 1902 and 1903.

14:21: Image is not the Grand Central Depot which opened in 1871.

14:57: Revise narraration to include Willie K. breaking the one-mile land speed record in January 1904.

15:38: Incorporate the film of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

15:49: George Heath, averaged 52.2 miles per hour.

16:46: Image is from 1904 Ormond-Daytona Automobile Race.

16:58: Although Willie K. spent his honeymoon at his father's estate Idle Hour and did have a home in Manhattan, from 1903 to 1909, his primary estate was Deepdale in Lake Success. In 1910 he began building his Eagle's Nest mansion in Centerport.

17:46: Barney Oldfield film does not quite fit here. Suggest Willie K. racing at the 1905 Ormond-Daytona Automobile Race.

24:25: Petit Trianon was an inn not a restaurant.

25:05: The Petit Trianon fire occurred in 1958.

26:19:Image doews not match the narration. Lake Ronkonkoma was a tourist attraction in the early 1900s.

27:30: The course for the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Races was shortened to 12.64 miles not 40.

27:52: Wrong image for the Vanderbilt Cup Race. The image used the 1901 car/railroad accident withe driver Henri Fournier.

28:12: The meeting was held at the Garden City Hotel not Krug's Hotel.

28:26: The Vanderbilt Cup Races would continue for six more years, travelin from Savannah, Milwaukee, San Francisco and Santa Monica.

31:42: Rosamund Vanderbilt was previously married to Barclay Harding Warburton II, an heir to the John Wanamaker fortune.

31:45: Construction of the Eagle's Nest Estate in Centerport began in 1910. Rosamund and Willie K. did live at Eagle's Nest.

33:10 to 34:30: Since Robert Moses played a really small role in the Long Island Motor Parkway story, I would reduce this section and eliminate the personal stories.

35:47: Incorrect image. That's Willie K not his son William K. Vanderbilt III.

37:00 Suggest using a photo of Alva as a private yacht.

38:03: Sugest using Suffolk County Vanderbilt Museum.


Mar 09 2017 Ron Ridolph 2:37 AM

Hi Howard:

    If Dean needs any further assistance with information and furtherance of any of my LIMP photos, I am very available to him.

    My Best Regards,  Cordially,  Ron Ridolph

Mar 09 2017 Pete Mann 10:32 AM

Love it, very enjoyable to watch. I’ve been interested in LIMP for years, after realizing I’ve literally lived next to it for almost 20 years. First when I lived on Roslyn Road in Mineola and now that I live off Salisbury Park Dr in Levittown.
Great job, can’t wait to see more.

Mar 09 2017 Maureen H. 12:31 PM

Really enjoyed this!  Have lived in Smithtown my whole life so knew some of the story but loved learning even more.  Well done! Would like to see the rest.

Mar 09 2017 Brian McHale 1:07 PM

Thank You. More please.

Mar 09 2017 Brian D McCarthy 5:31 PM

Well done, Mr. Romano. I learned facts that I wasn’t aware of before. Do remember an older gentleman I used to work with referred the LIMP as “Rumrunners Rd”. Thought he was just pulling my leg, but it was true.

Mar 09 2017 Ted 7:13 PM

just got finished watching this, enjoyed it very much, very well done and to the point, covered just about everything, even more than what I heard from you Howard, not saying that you didn’t do a good job, this was a little more detailed to the upcoming of the LIMP and what Robert Mosses did at the end of the story.


Mar 09 2017 Gerry 7:42 PM

I just lived watching this..and the history of Long Island…until I heard then came of Jesus and God being degraded into curses…PLEASE don’t do this…this is much needed history of our Island…but please let us respect the name so many people hold so dearly….
Howard Kroplick
Gerry, I must have missed this section. Where is it in the film?

Mar 11 2017 Brian D McCarthy 12:17 AM

Hi Howard. I viewed Mr. Romano’s film again. In response to Gerry’s comment, the wording was expressed at 2:43 and 11:58. Nothing against Dean, I use words in vain in times of stress. Thought I just let you know in case Gerry didn’t respond back.

Mar 12 2017 Bob DeStefani 8:53 AM

Great film, I really enjoyed it, keep it coming.  If Dean needs any information on the Petit Trianon, please ask. The Petit Trianon was my club house and the grounds my playground.

Bob DeStefani

Mar 12 2017 Dean Romano 11:58 AM

Hi all,

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone who watched the movie and for offering feedback.  A special thank you to Howard, not only for agreeing to post the movie on his excellent website but for graciously allowing me to use photos from his books and website.  He is truly the foremost authority on all things Parkway related, and the movie would not be possible if not for his exhaustive research.  I’ll keep you all posted on the progress of the movie as I bring it to completion, but your kind words have provided me with a great source of encouragement.  Thank you all, again.

Mar 12 2017 L.M.K. 12:16 PM

LOved it !!!  Can’t wait to see part IV…..

Mar 12 2017 Joseph Papalia 12:47 PM

Very much enjoyed this film.  I’ve lived on Long Island all my life and learned things through this film that I was totally unaware of. Mr Romano’s historical presentation is right on and very well presented.  The rich never cease to amaze me as to how they spend their money.  But what must be said in so doing, Mr. Romano shows how their money created history and at the same time preserved it for future generations.  One side story, in early 195i, I was a busboy at Shor’s in Rockville Centre, NY when Robert Moses and his group came in for frankfurters and hamburgers. It was my job to place them on his table.  Even then, I thought he was cold and a very pretentious person.  Never smiling and not cordial at all. I’ll give Mr. Romano an A.

Mar 12 2017 Bob 12:59 PM

Dean, quite an effort , I hope you find these comments constructive and have a bit of a thick skin:
The start is a bit of a snoozer, flows like a bad Chamber of Commerce film needs heavy edits and loose the “humor” and vulgarity “. You missed two early local race events, 1901 on Coney Island and 1902 Staten Island. They ( particularly the 1902 race) play into the Cup races and VMP. I have some info and images from these two races if you are interested contact me. Music with lyrics over a narrative does not work for me. Save the “stories for another day” for another movie. Sorry, but I don’t really care about your early family history. Although I am sure it would make another lovely movie.  The parkway and the V Cup races seem to confused and conflated, need a clearer distinction between the V M P vs the course used for the V Cup races. If you want to continue the Vanderbilt auto racing thread on LI ( this time George)  you should cover the track races in Mineola in 1936 and 1937 , some good info on this in “Racing the Silver Arrows” by Chris Nixon, A bit too much on RM, with not much focus , not really clear what you are trying to communicate, what he built on LI ?, if so, show it more clearly. That he was not nice? I don’t really care about his personal life. Contact me, I have a large LI Parkway map from the 1930’s that could help to illustrate the RM parkway system. Hope you find this helpful. Warm regards ,Bob

Mar 12 2017 frank femenias 4:36 PM

Dean – Great video in progress, and loaded with information. I learned a thing or two myself and enjoyed the comedy in between.

Question: What is the name of the song at 21:08?

A few suggestions:

Turn down a notch at 2:42, especially if the video is intended for wide audiences of different age groups.

Use more, if possible, the video clips showing the early auto’s windshield view, driving down the wooded country roads (12:25 and 17:26). Not only rare, they are most entertaining to watch, especially when a location can be identified. 

Sound track suggestions:

Freeway Jam – Jeff Beck (highway traffic)
Breezin’ – George Benson
Fun, Fun, Fun – Beach Boys
Drive My Car - Beatles
Beck’s Bolero – Jeff Beck (congested traffic)

Good luck and looking forward to more!

Mar 12 2017 Laura and Kenneth Harris 4:38 PM

What a nice film!  Some of it was material that I am familiar with and some was new to me.  In any case, most enjoyable.  I live in Dix Hills near the intersection of Deer Park Avenue and Motor Parkway, so I often drive on it.  When I was young and in the boy scouts, we sometimes hiked on local stretch of the parkway that was accessible from Hicksville Road (north of Hempstead Turnpike).  Keep up the good work. 
Ken Harris

Mar 12 2017 S 6:24 PM

Quite an œuvre, Dean!  I’d be happy to help from inception of Motor Parkway Panel to Howard’s formation of LIMPPS or in any other way I might.  See, et seq., if you’re not familiar with it.  I agree that you should clean the film up a bit, though; a nicer tone wouldn’t hurt acceptance - I don’t think I’m a prig but I must admit I was put off a bit.  Sam, III

Mar 12 2017 L.Grosewald 6:38 PM


Mar 12 2017 Dean Romano 9:18 PM

Again, thanks to everyone for their feedback.  I apologize for being a little potty mouthed, but I can assure you that I’ve already taken out parts that were even more profane.  My wife and daughter don’t like when I swear either, so I try to keep that to a minimum.  Howard, thanks for using your keen eye to point out factual inconsistencies which I will certainly get to work on fixing.  Frank, the song you’re referring to is “Gymnopedie No 1” by Erik Satie, a popular piece of music that’s been used in movies before.  Bob I appreciate your candor and will certainly take your suggestions into consideration.  Going forward, I’m planning on attending the next meeting of the LIMP Preservation society, and I hope to meet some of you there.  Thanks again.

Mar 12 2017 Dave Russo 9:36 PM


Overall I really loved the video and thought it was very well done. I enjoyed the historic narrative (very well written) and the pics / video that went along with your words. Well done!

Constructive criticism portion: I feel like you were your own worst enemy as far as “professionalism” and the attempts at humor and interjections. You would have wonderfully long sections of factual and well written information interrupted by attempts at humor like the “Jesus H Christ” splurge, my son looked at me funny when you did that - like it made no sense to him! All of the attempts at humor were not good—just remove them…this is not a comedy, it’s a professional presentation about LI history and a very good one. The imaginary land transaction exchange was not funny either - at all, nor was your head popping from side to side on that one section, and being a historical movie you focused way too much on your personal Ronkonkoma story….if you are making this for your own use then that’s great, but if this is meant to be shown/distributed in any way take that all out.

But that’s it….the idea/narrative/pics/words, everything was great except for these little lapses that could be easily fixed/edited. Sammy and I were both very into it and were mad when there was no PART IV to see so that is a great sign, you had us both into it! I loved the Robert Moses discussion you present, I disagree with Bob’s critique above on that.

And like others I’ll volunteer my services if you need/want: I have pics of anything/everything LIMP related in terms of what things look like NOW. Nothing old, just now stuff if you need anything Howard knows how to get me.

Let us all know when Part IV is ready!

Mar 13 2017 Bob 9:32 AM

Dean, If you want me to send you some information I noted in my comments you can contact me at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).  One other piece that you may consider that could be worked back into the “rich are different” theme was an article by Robert Caro about RM in the the New Yorker (1-5-98) about how Otto Kahn, a wealthy landowner on the gold coast secretly paid for his own $10,000 Northern Parkway alignment survey, (and RM accepted it) to avoid a private golf course that Kahn had just constructed. This lead in part to the southern shift in the alignment that resulted.  Hope to attend the next LIMP meeting. If you are going to attend let me know I can bring the big stuff that is too large to scan. All the best, Bob

Howard Kroplick

Here is a link to a 2014 New York Times article by author Robert Caro “The Power Broker, 40 Years Later”

Mar 19 2017 Chris Giffuni 1:20 PM

Hi Dean, Great job!!! I wrote a song about the parkway that Howard put a slide show to. You can see it here:

You are welcome to use it in the film if you like. Thanks.

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