Nov 19 2013

Garden City Patch “Renewed Interest in the Vanderbilt Parkway”

Garden City Patch has posted this article on efforts to preserve a section of the Motor Parkway in Garden City.


Howard Kroplick

Renewed Interest in the Vanderbilt Parkway

Mayor asks EPOA to take the lead on a project that would look into ways to best utilize the portion of the parkway Garden City owns.

Posted by  Carisa Giardino  (Editor) , November 13, 2013 at 06:00 AM


There is an effort underway to possibly turn the portion of the famed Long Island Motor Parkway (also known as the Vanderbilt Parkway) that's located in Garden City into a park and nature trail.

As discussions continue about how to best utilize the site, the Eastern Property Owner's Association (EPOA) would like to first see the area cleaned up.

"At the very least we'd like to see the area cleaned up, the part that Garden City owns," EPOA president Christine Mullaney told village trustees at the Nov. 7 board meeting.

Speaking as a resident, Mullaney said the area needs to be addressed, especially around the sump and behind two houses where dried out wood has been stacked since the village's post-Sandy cleanup.

"If that ever caught fire I would think it would be a problem," she said. "As a first step I'd like to see the pathways the village owns cleaned up."

Further discussion will take place at the EPOA's Nov. 19 meeting, which is open to all Garden City residents. The meeting will be held at the Golf Club Lane senior center beginning at 7:30 p.m. Residents William Bellmer and Cyril Smith, who suggested the park/nature trail idea, will be in attendance.

Mullaney, along with EPOA officers and directors, recently toured the property with Bellmer and Smith, who share a mutual interest in Garden City's history. The two gentlemen have also been instrumental in getting markers placed throughout the village to highlight historical sites, including the Long Island Motor Parkway toll lodge, now the Chamber of Commerce building on Seventh Street.

Mayor John Watras asked the EPOA to take the lead on the project. "There has been renewed interest in the Vanderbilt Parkway, as there should be," he said. "It's a great gift."

As a start, the village will inspect and clean up the area behind Vanderbilt Court, Mullaney said.

"What the EPOA wants to do at this point is examine the pros and cons of the Bellmer/Smith proposal and get resident input," she said. "Where it goes depends on what we find out."

In 1908, William K. Vanderbilt, an early motor car enthusiast and auto racer, built the Long Island Motor Parkway (LIMP). It was the first concrete highway in America, and its first toll road. It ran from Flushing Queens to Ronkonkoma in Suffolk and passed through Garden City. Vanderbilt used portions of it for the famous Vanderbilt Cup Races in 1908-10.

The Garden City segment lies between Clinton Road and Raymond Court. The main office is still off Clinton Road on Vanderbilt Court and is now a private residence located just north of Stewart School, at the end of the houses that face Clinton Road, according to village historian Suzie Alvey.

At Clinton Road, just north of Vanderbilt Court, there is a berm which was the approach upgrade for the Clinton Road Bridge that ran east from there to where the turnaround is on the Raymond Court dead-end, Smith added. A portion of that segment is village owned, the rest is owned by Nassau County.

In June 2011, then-mayor Donald Brudie appointed trustees Brian Daughney, Dennis Donnelly and then-trustee Laurence Quinn to a committee to review the history of the parkway and its presence in Garden City. This year's trustee appointment has not yet been finalized, according to village clerk Brian Ridgway.

Mayor Watras said the village would assist the EPOA "in any way, shape or form" and asked that a proposal be brought back to the board.

"There's a lot of talent here and that's what's going to get this project done," Mayor Watras said, pointing out that Garden City Bird Sanctuary founder Robert Alvey turned a sump into a nine-acre community nature preserve on Tanners Pond Road.

Althea Robinson, executive director of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce, said she'd love to be involved with the committee since the chamber's office is located in the toll lodge, the "last vestige of the parkway."

"We have a lot of history collected from the beginning of time from the parkway," she said.

Several trustees who toured the property in recent years were amazed at what they saw. "There's a pond in there. There's all sorts of things in there you'd never dreamed would be there," trustee Nick Episcopia said.


Cyril Smith, trustee Richard Silver, EPOA treasurer Sal Norberto and William Bellmer on a tour of the property earlier this year. (Credit Suzie Alvey)

March 2003 Photos of the Motor Parkway in Garden City

I started exploring the Long Island Motor Parkway over  ten years ago. Theses are my very first photos of the parkway taken in Garden City.


Nov 20 2013 frank femenias 1:08 PM

Well, it looks like clean-up time again! I’ll make an effort to join the limpps on this one. Though this is relatively a short stretch of roadway, last I heard it was a pretty bad mess and envisioned chain saws and heavy equipment.

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