The following few pages show the Parkway in perhaps its most original setting as it traveled through the borough of Queens. When the Parkway was given to Queens in 1938, NYC elected to keep it from being developed and eventually incorporated it into its current use as a bike and jogging trail, as part of Alley Pond and Cunningham Parks. For many years, the roadway was unkept but was used by neighborhood children; several of my friends grew up in the area and remember many a days riding their bikes on the roadway. Images show the parkway from Winchester Avenue, on the east, proceeding west towards Springfield Blvd. and Bell Blvd. and beyond. I'll be adding material in the coming days so be sure to check every now and then. And I would especially like to have any comments from those of you who have experienced this section of the Motor Parkway in days gone by.
To get things started, here are some maps showing portions of the Motor Parkway in Queens. On the left is a 1928 Sunrise Trails
map issued by the Long Island Chamber of Commerce. The Motor Parkway is seen coming from the right, mid-center, a little past the Nassau County border, west into Queens and ending at the 73rd Avenue Motor Parkway Toll Gate. The parkway (in sort of a hatch pattern) crosses Marcus Avenue, Little Neck Road, Springfield Blvd. and Hollis Court Blvd. Pages that follow will show more detail about the Parkway as it made its way through Queens. Other Toll Gates shown on this map are one right above Creedmoor (a state Psychiatric Hospital on the site of the Creed Farm which had as its origins Brooklyn State Hospital and subsequently Kingsboro Psychiatric Center.). And another near Marcus Avenue in Nassau County, near Lakeville, home of Willie K. Vanderbilt. The stars with numbers refer to golf clubs, of which there are many.
The map below is a 1935 map from the Shell Oil Company
, published by The H.M. Gousha Company of Chicago and shows approx. the same location as the earlier map on the left. The Grend Central Parkway is shown in this map crossing the Motor Parkway just south of Alley Pond Park - Creedmoor/Brooklyn State Hospital are shown too. At this point in time, the Parkway's western edge had been extended north (near Golf Course 34, Fresh Meadows Contry Club) to Horace Harding Blvd., forerunner of today's Long Island Expressway.
In the 1944 Hagstom
map below, you can follow the Motor Parkway as a bicycle path (since the Parkway closed in 1938) running west through Alley Pond Park then passing through Cunningham Park before heading north to Horace Harding Blvd. Several bridges were built in this area and will be documented on later pages.
This map is another Hagstrom from 1950,
six years later. Interestingly, the Parkway has no designation as a Bicycle Path, and there have been some changes in the configuration of some of the streets. For example, the blocks just west and north of Alley Park in the latest map (shown towards the left part of the map) are different than the map just 6 years earlier (the name Alley Park doesn't appear in that one, but the location and shape are the same). And on the right side of Creedmoor/Brooklyn State Hospital, following the Parkway/Bicycle Path along Underhill Avenue, whole sections of cross streets in the older map have been replaced by a circular development in the newer map, along with 80 year old Hillside Hospital, now a member of the Long Island Jewish/North Shore Univerisity Hospital Network.
And now on to some pictures . . .