Tuesday, July 31, 2012

The Northern State Parkway

The Northern State Parkway as it appeared in the 1930s somewhere in Nassau County.  Besides for a significant amount of additional traffic the parkway has not changed all that much in 80 years.

17 comments:

The Down East Dilettante said...

"Besides for a significant amount of additional traffic the parkway has not changed all that much in 80 years."

yeah, except for that here it looks like the Arcadian ideal, and any weekday afternoon now it more resembles the very gates of Hell...

magnus said...

This photo raise a question that intrigues me- what was the route taken to Long Island prior to the construction of the horrible Long Island Expressway and the Triboro Bridge and Midtown Tunnel? Was 25A the preferred route? And how long did the journey take? Winter "Week-ending", in these houses that were close to Manhattan "as the crow flies" seems only to have become universally popular following the Second World War. I wonder if it had something to do with the time involved in the journey.

Zach said...

magnus...

Indeed it was both Jericho Turnpike and Northern Blvd. I can't remember the book...possibly Sobin's Dynamics of Community Change...that mentioned bumper to bumper traffic on Northern all the way from Queens through Oyster Bay. Bad enough that many who were making the trip would give up and simply pull their car to the side of the road and have a picnic. It got bad enough that caretakers of estates would have to chase people off their lawns.

I think it very likely took 2-3 hours just to make it to Oyster Bay...if you made it at all.

The Ancient said...

A variety of pictures, some taken during the parkway's construction --

http://www.vanderbiltcupraces.com/index.php/blog/article/friday_october_23_2009_the_motor_parkway_bridges_over_the_northern_state_pa

archibuff said...

There was also Horace Harding Blvd to take into Nassau County which was mostly paved over when the LIE closely followed it's route.

Northern State was also a visual improvement over driving past the ash dumps in Flushing (Great Gatsby) via route 25A. Loved driving the road when the old wooden guardrials and light posts were still extant

For all the wrongs of Robert Moses he did create a vast parkway system and made the beaches accessible to some, no buses from the inner city though thanks to the low bridge clearances, but he did lay the ground work for the suburbanization of LI, for better or worse.

magnus said...

Thanks Zach- fascinating

Anonymous said...

Sadly, some nice touches have not survived; the stone gas stations, the wooden lampposts, and most memorable for me a mysterious tower on the side of the bridge over Jericho Turnpike; I always wondered what it was meant for.

Anonymous said...

I think that one stone filling station in the Huntington/Dix Hills area is still there but no longer in use. They were very attractive structures as well as the wooden lamp posts and railings. Moses knew how to build quality roadways.

Zach said...

Some of what I was talking about is mentioned in The Power Broker, pages 151-155.

l'il gay boy said...

Despite the increased traffic volume, I must confess that I still savor driving Northern State for its lovely landscaping, civility & meandering curves...much more civilized than the Southern State -- almost like a microcosm of the country, the differing driving habits of "Northerners" & "Southerners"...

;-)

Kellsboro Jack said...

Is this the highway where Santino "Sonny" Corleone in The Godfather movie (1972) was gunned down when stopping at the toll booth? Or was that cinema piece to have reflected a highway much closer to the city and on the southern shore?

Anonymous said...

Movie Trivia for $100. Definitely a south shore parkway

http://placesnomore.wordpress.com/2011/03/25/deathscene/

NSP is still a pleasure to ride today only comparable to Ocean Pkwy.

;'il gay boy said...

Jack,

Since I lived in Valley Stream for years, it was rumored that the infamous scene was filmed at the long torn-down Valley Stream toll booths, which were situated to the west of the current state police HQ.

I still remember dad bitching and moaning about traveling east and having to pay a toll to go one exit -- until the made the tolls westbound only.

;-)

BCD said...

Ok,
who can link the lovely stone gas stations with Martin Carey....

Anonymous said...

I thought at one time Old Country Road was also used as a main route?

I also love Northern, can't stand Southern, even more so when I pass the alley of trees that once led to the Belmont estate.

Anonymous said...

Ok,
who can link the lovely stone gas stations with Martin Carey....

Don't tell us he purchased the vacant station on Northern and is now living there with no running water or electric?

Anonymous said...

Since Martin Carey has been kind enough to let EC take pictures of his houses for the express purpose of posting them on OLI, perhaps a decent interval should pass before everyone resumes the usual potshots from the peanut gallery.