Oct 26 2013

Then & Now: The Bethpage Bikeway Section of the Motor Parkway in Old Bethpage

The New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) has completed their extension of the 1/2 mile section of the Bethpage Bikeway in Bethpage State Park. Here is a "Then & Now" of  this section built on and near the Long Island Motor Parkway.


Howard Kroplick

March 1908 Survey

Long Island Motor Parkway, Inc. purchased 16.28 acres in this area from the Botto family.

Then: July 1908 Construction Photos

Looking west from the Botto Farm.

Looking north from the Botto Farm.

1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race

This section of the Motor Parkway was part of the course for the 1908 Motor Parkway Sweepstakes and the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

A banked Motor Parkway curve similar to the one seen in Bethpage State Park.

Then: 1926 Aerial

The Botto Farm was north and south of the the Motor Parkway.

1928 Motor Parkway Atlas

1941 Map

Then: 1940s Aerial

The Motor Parkway (now the Bethpage Bikeway) can be seen in the right corner.

Then: 2003

This lonely concrete post was the only indication of the Motor Parkway.

A curved section of the Motor Parkway

The road seemed to disappear after 500 yards. There was no indication of the road after this point...until 2012.

Bethpage Bikeway

The NYS Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) obtained funding to extend the existing 8.8 mile Bethpage Bike Path from the picnic fields at Bethpage State Park. I will continue  through Trail View State Park on to Syosset, terminating at the LIRR Station, in a combination Shared Use Path/ On-Road facility with a total length of 16.8 miles.

This 1950 aerial of the Motor Parkway shows the area completed including  a banked curves built for the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Then: March 12, 2012 Bikeway Construction Photos

After over 50 years, the Motor Parkway was uncovered.

Then: March 20, 2012

One week later, this section of the Motor Parkway was being "repaved".

This curved section was preserved and not repaved.

Today: October 26, 2013

"Motor Vehicles" are no longer allowed on this section of America's first parkway built for automobiles.

The ribbon on the left was placed there by Sam Berliner III, Al Velocci and me in 2005 to mark the path of the Motor Parkway.

The Bethpage Bikeway is being enjoyed by walkers, skaters and bikers.

An information kiosk on the Motor Parkway and the Vanderbilt Cup Races will be soon  constructed by the NYS Department of Transportation in front of a remnant of a curved bank.

Here I am checking out the trapped rock on the concrete banked curve.

Additional Resources

Wayne Consolla's online Motor Parkway map.

Bethpage Bikeway- NYDOT

Update: 1926-2013 Mashup by Jim Waechtler


Oct 27 2013 David Kahn 9:21 AM

During summer vacation in college in the late 1940s, I became interested in the Motor Parkway because it ran not far from my family’s house in Lake Success and with a friend from Great Neck High (what is now North), a friend, Edward S. Miller, I tracked its remnants as they ran over the Northern State Parkway on a bridge (since demolished) and then east through Nassau County.  A few years later, as a copyboy for the Daily News, I wrote an article about it for the Lincoln-Mercury Times, which their artist illustrated with watercolors.  I retain my interest, though I now live in Manhattan.  Miller lives in Washington, DC.  <[email protected]>

Oct 27 2013 Kenneth J. Harris 11:35 AM

What a nice presentation!  Your usual great job.  Thanks!


Oct 27 2013 Roger Price 3:58 PM

I loved the article about the bikeway.  It’s a terrific way to keep the Motor Parkway in existence and also inform the public about the significance of the parkway.
Thanks for the great illustrations.
Roger Price

Oct 27 2013 Ted 5:45 PM

What more can I say,but thanks for the fabulous update you give us

Oct 28 2013 Ernie Finamore 2:10 PM

    I spent much of my younger years (late 50’s - early/mid 60’s) riding my bicycle on the original dirt path from Massapequa Park to Bethpage Park with my neighborhood friends. We had to avoid many concealed traps left for us along the way in the Farmingdale area of the ride!
    The familiar paved pathway that exists today used to be a gravel police/fire road back then, too loose for us to pedal our bikes through. When I ride through there today I feel like I’m on a pedestrian superhighway!
    Thanks again for all your efforts regarding our Long Island history. I hope the Chrysler is coming along, and look forward to seeing you and John with the ALCO racer again in the future.

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