Mar 09 2016

Sam & Dave’s “Excellent Motor Parkway Adventure” X: Battle Row Campground

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 tenth post of this series, Sammy and Dave continued their exploration after leaving Bethpage State Park, crossed Round Swamp Road and on to the Battle Row Campground in Old Bethpage.
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

Once you exit Bethpage State Park, a residential area is built over the Motor Parkway. Interesting to note some of the street names here include: Vanderbilt Lane, Motor Lane and Toll Road.

On Round Swamp Road, the Plainview Fire House location is built right next to the Parkway. The bridge abutment is right across the street.

The remnants of the abutment of the Round Swamp Road Bridge.

The same abutment can be seen on the left when the bridge was being built in April 1910.

Original existing road continues right on top of the abutment - there are many posts off in the weeds on both sides

 Another wall built after road was closed to restrict riders - as you can see the sun is starting to set and we are running out of time.

Continuing east - nice spot leading into Battle Row Campground - where there are always interesting people to see!

Battle Row is fairly interesting - lots of posts lying in the weeds. The Motor Parkway pretty quickly makes a left hand turn over Spagnoli Road - former bridge location, nothing remains and into the Old Bethpage Village Restoration.


Mar 11 2016 Dave Russo 1:18 PM

Believe it or not, our second annual “Vanderbilt day” is upon us. We will be making the journey again tomorrow. If there are any locations that anyone feels needs further pics or investigation let me know today!

Don’t worry frank, the Caroline posts are on the list for more research.

Mar 12 2016 frank femenias 12:52 AM

Sam and Dave, this is exciting. I’m guessing you guys will be traveling east from the Maxess Rd bridge. If so, an area of interest is north of Colonial Springs Rd, where the LIMP bridge once crossed over (never visited there). Lots of open space here, and away from residential development. This area appearing swampy, could be tough to navigate. Hopefully will be fun. Best wishes on this adventure and looking forward to the updates. Have fun!

Mar 13 2016 Dave Russo 4:55 PM

Frank—nope, we did the Queens to Melville tour again. Great day. I’ve been to the locations you mention. They are ok and worth seeing but it’s hardly a “journey” like our trip along the more historic route.

Mar 14 2016 frank femenias 12:11 AM

You guys rock!! Sounds like another ~38 miler. You picked a great day for it too. I understand there’s lots to investigate with limited time. This is a total 45mi. puzzle with lots of missing (or hiding) pieces, and with many twists involved. I wouldn’t have it any other way! Lol. Can’t wait to see the pics of this journey.

Mar 14 2016 Dave Russo 8:36 PM

I do have some updates / news. I will send all to Howard. Another great day with the little man!

Leave a Comment