Queens elected officials and community leaders joined NYC Parks Commissioner Gabrielle Fialkoff on Friday, Dec. 17, to cut the ribbon on the completion of the first phase of reconstruction of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway in Alley Pond Park.
“The Vanderbilt Motor Parkway is both a recreational asset and a living piece of New York City history — and now this bike and pedestrian path has received the makeover it deserves,” Fialkoff said.
Originally built in 1908 as a racecourse by the railroad mogul and financier William Vanderbilt Jr., today the path serves as a scenic bike and pedestrian walkway that connects Cunningham and Alley Pond Parks in eastern Queens.
The reconstruction project was funded with $1.85 million total, including $1.435 million from Grodenchik and an additional $415,000 from Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The project is the first phase of work that includes the reconstruction of 0.8 miles of the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway from Winchester Boulevard by the entrance to Alley Pond Park to Springfield Boulevard. The scope of work includes new asphalt pavement, new rustic timber guide rail, benches, trees and shrub plantings.
Queens Borough President Donovan Richards, Senator John Liu, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, Councilman Barry Grodenchik, Community Board 8 Chair Martha Taylor and President of the Long Island Motor Parkway Preservation Society Howard Kroplick were in attendance for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.
The Vanderbilt Long Island Motor Parkway had not been repaved in decades and was in desperate need of an upgrade, Grodenchik said.
“My advocacy for this project was driven by the frequent requests I received from local residents for whom the path provides a clean, safe, quiet place for exercise and recreation; the ongoing pandemic only reinforces the importance of access to outdoor public space,” Grodenchik said. “I thank the mayor for providing the funding that will allow the remainder of the path to be resurfaced and the Parks Department for doing a magnificent job on the first stretch.”
A second phase of renovations, which Mayor de Blasio funded with $3.685 million, will address the additional two miles of parkway, from Springfield Boulevard to 199th Street. It is expected to begin construction next year.