Oct 14 2015

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” V: East Williston to Mineola

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 fifth post of this series, Sammy and Dave exploring the Long Island Motor Parkway from East Williston to Mineola.


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

East Williston

Motor Parkway concrete posts, likely moved from the right-of-way, now located on the south edge of Wheatley Hills Golf Club on Hilliside Avenue.

Carle Place/Mineola

Looking south towards the location of the Jericho Turnpike Motor Parkway Bridge. This was a "highway bridge" that went under the main road. Note this area is still below grade.

The still standing Mineola Lodge, now a private home.

Sammy standing among remnants of the Motor Parkway north of Westbury Avenue.

A three-foot concrete extension of the Motor Parkway.

Looking south towards Westbury Avenue. Nassau County built a storm basin in the area but left room for the future Motor Parkway Trail.

More remnants.

Lunch! Gotta let the kid eat.

Back to work! Motor Parkway continues south of Westbury Avenue.

Motor Parkway concrete posts just north of Old Country Road. These post marked the border for the bridge that went under Old Country Road.


Oct 15 2015 frank femenias 3:44 AM

This is very cool footage that I’ve never seen before. Thank you guys for sharing this. Looks like some rough terrain going on through there. I love this challenge. It’s unlikely any posts were ever re-positioned. At best, they would have been removed entirely, especially for new home building. What I’ve gathered over time from Howard, Sam III, Robert, and others, is that the posts served not only right-of -way, but also for exits, and other means to keep the parkway as safe as possible throughout its length. Keep exploring guys

Oct 16 2015 Dave Russo 8:08 AM

Hey Frank—-this area just north of Westbury Ave is easily accessible. Just take your car to end of Raff/Fairfield or Dow Ave and park and just walk in. Better viewing in winter / early spring for sure though but worth a trip one day.

That was Howard’s comment regarding the posts but I definitely agree with him. Those posts run east/west and at that point the road is north/south. I would guess this was a Country Club worker’s creativity. Now if I could only get Howard to answer some of those previous questions from the last post! But in fairness to him I think he’s busy watching these Mets do something they haven’t done in a long time, win! Good game last night!

Sam was funny. Told me “thanks…I look like an idiot in that McDonalds picture”. I told him not to worry. No chicks are gonna see it! Those nuggets were well deserved!

Oct 18 2015 S. Berliner, III 2:41 PM

Now you’re in my old home territory!  What happened to the stretch down south through the Mineola DPW yard to the LIRR main line and across the tracks alongside the east side of the Fairhaven Apts. to Old Country Road (with many posts)?  The posts along the south side of the WHGC were definitely moved - last I looked, there were a slew of them neatly relocated directly across the RoW and only a few feet apart.  Love your adventures - thanks!  Sam, III

Oct 19 2015 frank femenias 12:41 AM

Anything’s possible with the posts. Sam, you’ve achieved beyond expectations!
ANY expression at McD would’ve been appropriate. That was one hellava trip! You guys rock. Let’s Go Mets!

Oct 19 2015 Dave Russo 6:57 PM

Sam III - yes, those posts just north of Old Country Road are still there. I have the pics/proof. If you send me your email I’ll forward to you. I’d say there are 4 of them or so.

Frank - YES—-enjoy this Mets run. It’s been 9 years since we last smelled the playoffs so enjoy this! With this pitching anything is possible. And Murphy found Jesus at the right time apparently! I don’t care who he thanks after each HR as long as he keeps hitting them!!

Dave, I have added your photo of these posts. Thanks!

May 13 2019 Art Kleiner 6:18 PM

First post-retirement Motor Parkway exploration on a road well traveled (I was in the area so decided to stop and revisit an area been around many times). 

North of Westbury Avenue, looking north.

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May 13 2019 Art Kleiner 6:20 PM

Some more pics from my May, 2019 visit. 

Still north of Westbury Avenue, but except for the first one showing the Parkway berm, other two are looking south towards Westbury Avenue.

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