Mar 06 2017

Mystery Foto #9 Solved: An Aerial Looking East Over Roosevelt Field. Circa 1952

The Cradle of Aviation Museum challenged you to solve this weekend's Mystery Foto.

Answers to the Mystery Foto questions:

  • What is the location and orientation of the aerial?

Over the eastern section of Roosevelt Field looking east towards Westbury. Old Country Road is on the left. Merrick Avenue is in the background going from left to right.

  • Identify the major buildings and structures

-Roosevelt Raceway grandstands and harness track

-Arma Corp. plant

-Two Roosevelt Field airplane hangars

-The remnants of a Roosevelt Field runway

-St. Brigid's Church, 75 Post Avenue, Westbury

-Meadowbrook Polo Field

-Salisbury Country Club golf course

  • What is the year of the aerial? Provide a rationale.

Circa 1952. Rationale: Roosevelt Field was closed in 1951. Plans for the Arma building were announced in August 1951. The Roosevelt Field hangar east of Gate Boulevard.

  • Link the aerial to the Vanderbilt Cup Races

The grandstands in the Mystery Foto were used for the 1936 and 1927 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Sections of the Old Country Road in the Mystery Foto were used in the 1909 and 1910 Vanderbilt Cup Race courses. A section of Ellison Road was used in the 1908 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

Comments (15)

Congrats to Captain Peter Kahl, Greg O., Lee Chambers, Sam Berliner III, Eric, Michael Appice, Richard Krause, Tim Ivers, Steve Lucas, Dick Gorman,Art Kleiner (see Kleiner's Korner) and Frank Femenias (see Femenias' Findings) for identifying the Roosevelt Field location. Kudos to Captain Peter Kahl, Greg O., Michael Appice, Steve Lucas, Art Kleiner and Dick Gorman for providing excellent rationals for the circa 1952 date.


Howard Kroplick


Roosevelt Raceway, the site of the 1936 and 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Races. The track was being used for harness racing in this aerial.

The most easterly Roosevelt Field hangar and the practice harness track.

The Arma Corp. building nearing completion. See below Kleiner's Korner.


Note: The hangar east of Gate Boulevard and the remnants of the Roosevelt Field runway.

St. Bridgid's Curch, 75 Post Avenue, Westbury, NY

Other Aerials of the Area (Courtesy of Cradle of Aviation)

Caption: Aerial view of three hangars looking east along Old Country Road along flight path #67. Circa 1952/1953.

Note: The Roosevelt Field hangar north of Gate Boulevard and west of the Arma Corp. building (seen in the Mystery Foto) has been demolished.

Caption: Aerial view along Old Country Road looking east showing Arma Company building and on concrete hangar. Circa 1952/1953.

Caption: Aerial view of remaining three hangars on Old Country Road looking east. Circa: 1952/1953.

Caption: Aerial view of Old Country Road looking east with three hangars with Roosevelt Raceway in background and Meadowbrook Parkway in foreground. Circa: 1956.

Note: Only one car on Meadowbrook Parkway.

Femenias' Findings (Submitted by Frank Femenias)

Then & Now

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

Current Bing map

1957 Map

1966 Aerial

Fairchild Engineeting Tax Survey-1953

Newsday, August 8, 1950

The New York Times, August 9, 1950

Newsday, January 31, 1951

Newsday, August 4, 1951

Arma Corp. plant set for Roosevelt Field.

Newsday, August 1, 1953

The New York Times, February 9, 1958


Mar 03 2017 Peter Kahl 1:01 PM

The road on the left is what became Old Country Rd.  The golf course is what became Eisenhower Park before when there was a course laid out on the west side of Merrick Ave.  The church in the upper left quadrant is St. Brigid’s RC Church, the Cemetery to the right of the church is Holy Rood Cemetery.  I would guess the age to be early 50’s. not sure when the Roosevelt race track took up permanent status.  The large buildings may be Roosevelt Aviation School,, that is a wild guess.

Mar 04 2017 Greg O. 5:53 PM

-What is the location and orientation of the aerial?
Directly over Roosevelt Field looking East at Roosevelt Raceway.

-Identify the major buildings and structures
Roosevelt Raceway horse tracks and grandstands, St. Brigid’s church steeple,  one of the last hangars along Old Country Rd to the left of the practice track, a corner of the Meadowbrook club along the right

-What is the year of the aerial? Provide a rationale.
I’ll guess 1952. The office buildings in the center/right (currently Verizon @ 741 Zeckendorf Blvd) look newly constructed and are listed as being built in that year.
Interesting to see the Roosevelt Field runway remnants in the foreground, soon to go with the impending Meadowbrook Parkway construction.

-Link the aerial to the Vanderbilt Cup Races
Roosevelt Raceway was the site for the 1936 and 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Mar 04 2017 Lee Chambers 10:43 PM

Eastern end of Roosevelt Field, looking Eastward in 1939 towards the midget racers on what had been a portion of the Vanderbilt race track.  The horse paddocks can be seen adjacent to the two tracks. 

Old Country Road is seen on the left running top to bottom.  LIMP is to the right of the tracks, running top to bottom.  Merrick Ave., (aka Post Road, Whaleneck Road, etc.) is in the distance running left to right.

Mar 05 2017 S. Berliner, III 12:46 AM

Without cheating, that’s Old Country Road at left, looking due “LI” east, with Westbury village at far left (with St. Whoozis’ white spire), Roosevelt Flying Field below, and the American-Bosch-ARMA plant up front with the LIRR spur coming up from the Garden City secondary at Stewart Avenue.  Too many racetracks for me, though.  ARMA looks new so I’d guess around 1940-42.  LIMP runs N-S (left-to-right) behind us and turns E (up) off the right corner.  LIRR main line at left with Jericho Turnpike further left.  LIMP is at uper right and then buried in the far right distance.  Sam, III

Mar 05 2017 eric 8:46 AM

old country road and east gate blvd looking east

Mar 05 2017 S. Berliner, III 8:52 AM

P. S. - I awoke with two nagging thoughts.  I forgot to note the lone hangar on Old Country Road, with it’s magnificent Art Moderne façade; it became a famous club or store named for its owner, like Max’s or Bob’s.  If you don’t recall, Westbury historian Ray Muntz should.  Also, the two racetracks have to be the old George Vanderbilt courses from the late ‘30s; the left-(northern-)most seems to be dirt or asphalt and thus a trotting pr midget track while the other appears paved with concrete and so for full racecars.  Roosevelt Raceway was further southeast (off lower right) and its huge grandstand was on the north side.  Also, my 1940-42 date is off; the heavy concentration of housing in your old haunts, East Meadow, to upper right, puts it post-war, say 1945-1950.  Fab. pic.  Sam, III

Mar 05 2017 Michael Appice 10:28 AM

This weeks mystery photo is a tough one. It looks like it Roosevelt Field looking east .Theres OlD Country Rd on the left. The large building in the middle was an aerospace plant which the name escapes me but it became America Machine & Foundry in 1960.Ther are train tracks leading in and out of the plant that took product out for delivery such as machinery and bomb shells.In the upper left it looks like St Bridigs Church. On the left along Old Country Rd there are some hangers still visible. The old Roosevelt Racetrack is seen on the right were the Vanderbuilt Races were held 1936-1939. Harness racing started in 1940. Some of the remnants of the runways are seen in the lower potion of the Photo.The picture is between 1951 & 1957 because the new harness racing track was built in 57 and the air field shut down in 51.

Mar 05 2017 Richie Krause 10:40 AM

Great ,great great…What fun…my guess is, that is the old roosevelt field airport, The origin of Lindbergs famous flight!  It closed in the early 50,s which would explain all the homes to the east.(past the horse track) that could be Levittown…What fun this is!

Mar 05 2017 Tim Ivers 10:45 AM

My guess is Roosevelt Field looking east about 1939.  In the top left it looks like the steeple of St. Brigid’s RC Church on Post Avenue Westbury, the golf course at Salisbury in the area beyond Merrick Avenue, the oval racetrack for the 1936-1937 Cup races and at the extreme right would be the LIMP bridge over Merrick Avenue.

Mar 05 2017 Steve Lucas 5:42 PM

I believe the photo was taken over Roosevelt Field looking east (Westbury / East Garden City area). We can see the Roosevelt Raceway complex with the main track, practice track, stables, and paddock. Also visible are: two airplane hangars and a runway ( #23 ? ) remnant; a small piece of the Meadowbrook Club polo field; and the Salisbury Links golf course in the distance. Judging by the existence of the old 1936-37 V.C.R. grandstand, the absence of the Meadowbrook Parkway and new additions of a few commercial / industrial buildings in the foreground, I’ll guess around 1953-54 for the date. In addition to being the site of the 1936 and 1937 races, the temporary Ellison Road extension for the 1908 - 1910 races went through approximately in the center of the photo from left to right.

Mar 05 2017 Michael Appice 6:53 PM

In my post about the mystery photo I couldn’t remember what company occupied The building on OldCountry Rd. Before A.M.F. It was Armour

Mar 05 2017 Art Kleiner 9:03 PM

What is the location and orientation of the aerial?  East Garden City looking east towards Roosevelt Raceway, south of Old Country Road.

Identify the major buildings and structures.  Obviously the tracks, paddocks and stables of Roosevelt Raceway and the grandstand, Salisbury Links, Meadow Brook Polo field, beginnings of Meadowbrook Parkway, and several buildings of the Roosevelt Field Industrial Park (at one time another used by Fairchild Engineering, NY Telephone, and headquarters of the Avis Corporation (after 1962). 
What is the year of the aerial? Provide a rationale. 1953/1954 - the Fairchild building shown (900 Old Country Road) was built in 1953 (Avis moved in in 1962).  Another building located at 867 East Gate which intersects North Street is not in the picture and was built in 1954 so would have to be within that year or two.  This latter building was at one time used by the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company.  Meadowbrook Parkway in this area not opened until 1956 and not shown.  Detailed maps are being sent to Howard separately. 
Link the aerial to the Vanderbilt Cup Races.  Roosevelt Raceway used for the 1936 and 1937 Vanderbilt Cup Races.

Mar 06 2017 frank femenias 10:21 AM

Photo taken above Roosevelt Field’s (the original airfield) eastern section looking east in Westbury. Old Country Rd on the left. Roosevelt Harness Racing oval tracks can be seen without the paddocks area. About 1946 prior to its construction. The three buildings in the foreground still exists today. Salisbury golf course on top

Mar 06 2017 Dick Gorman 7:55 PM

Mystery Foto #9… The aerial shows Roosevelt field and Roosevelt Raceway looking east. It shows the the original 1940’s racetrack at Roosevelt raceway and also the practice track. Building and grandstands at Roosevelt Field and The Raceway. The year was in the early ‘50’s. Part of the race tracks were also Vanderbilt Motor raceway. Roads shown include Old Country Road and maybe Hempstead turnpike.

Mar 06 2017 Al Velocci 8:23 PM

TO MICHAEL APPICE The company was Arma, a munition contractor. They manufactured bomb casings in the building during the Vietnam war.  Al Velocci              





Mar 08 2017 GLENN GORDON 4:02 PM

I believe #9 is from mid 1930’s . Lived on 28-Evelyn Ave[3rd st.from Ellison ave going west]  from Dec.1950 to Nov.1980. We had 2 hangers right off Old
Country rd. That were knocked down so Orbach’s and Fortunoff’s could be built. Remember when Old Country Road was widened it was a cool area to grow up in.Lots of good memories, How about Murray the K’s and Space World up in those old hangers by the parkway exit.

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