Photo: NYC Parks / Danny Avila
After two phases of reconstruction, the project enhanced the parkway with new pavement, timber guide rails, and beautiful greenery
NYC Parks Queens Borough Commissioner Jackie Langsam joined Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr., City Council Member Linda Lee, and Friends of Alley Pond Park to cut the ribbon on an array of enhancements at the historic Vanderbilt Motor Parkway in Eastern Queens.
“After two phases of reconstruction, I’m excited to officially announce the opening of the historic Vanderbilt Motor Parkway, enhancing the space with new pavement, guide rails, and beautiful greenery, boosts the quality of life for all Queens residents,” said Queens Borough Commissioner Jackie Langsam. “Thanks to this work, cyclists and pedestrians will be able to enjoy an upgraded open space for recreation and relaxation for years to come. This project represents our commitment as a ‘Five Borough Administration’ to investing in equitable, accessible, and beautiful public greenspaces in our outer boroughs.”
The $4 million project, funded by the Mayor’s Office and City Council, added new asphalt pavement to provide a smoother surface for cyclists and all park patrons and addressed draining issues by elevating the ground level to allow water to flow away from high-risk flood zones. Rustic timber guide rails and tree plantings were also placed to increase public safety and enhance the appearance of the parkway.
Phase one of the reconstruction focused on the multi-use path from Winchester Boulevard by the entrance to Alley Pond Park to Springfield Boulevard. The second phase included
reconstruction from Springfield Boulevard to 199th Street, north of 67th Avenue.
“I’m thrilled work on the historic Vanderbilt Motor Parkway will continue to its next phase, so that our cyclists and pedestrians can have an even better and safer experience on the thoroughfare,” said Queens Borough President Donovan Richards Jr. “More importantly, I’m glad we’re all working together to ensure we preserve the historic and picturesque nature trail in the heart of Queens for years to come.”
“Eastern Queens is known for its scenic parks and green spaces that allow families to enjoy the outdoors. The reconstruction of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway now provides refurbished space to serve as areas to benefit the health and wellness of our community,” said Council Member Linda Lee. “The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway is always bustling with cyclists and joggers across the neighborhood, so I want to thank Queens Parks Commissioner Jackie Langsam for your leadership in ensuring the completion of this project.”
Originally built in 1908 as a racecourse by the railroad mogul and financier William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. (1878-1944), the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway later developed into a major public thoroughfare. It was one of the first concrete roads in the nation, the first highway to use bridges and overpasses, and the first high-speed route from Queens to Suffolk County. The Parkway’s largely untold history is filled with intrigue: race cars, bootlegging, historic preservation efforts, and public controversy. Today, the Parkway survives as a bicycle path, but began as America’s first all-elevated road for cars.