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Long Island Expressway

(Horace Harding Expressway)
Photo Gallery Long Island Expressway I-495
Expressways of Brooklyn & Queens


Traversing all of Long Island west of the forks, from Riverhead in the east, down into the Queens Midtown Tunnel leading to Manhattan, the legendary Long Island Expressway has long been touted as the world's longest parking lot. In truth however, at least in my opinion and experience, the Long Island Expressway, commonly called LIE, is far from being the worst for traffic in New York City. While the acronym LIE is certainly apropo at times, since its frequent traffic tie-ups do put the lie to the LIE being an "Express" way, I think the monstrous Cross-Bronx Expressway, the northbound Bruckner Expressway leading into the New England Thruway, Van Wyck Expressway between Kew Gardens and JFK Airport, and the horrible Gowanus stretch of the BQE in Brooklyn are much worse. Although a triple-digit part of the I-95 system, the Long Island Expressway is connected to the parent only indirectly, via the I-295 Clearview, up through the I-695 Throggs Neck, into the I-95 Bruckner.
The LIE rumbles eastward through the Queens neighborhoods of Long Island City, Maspeth, Elmhurst, Rego Park, Forest Hills, Flushing Meadow Park, Central Flushing, Fresh Meadows, Oakland Gardens, Douglaston and Little Neck/Glen Oaks, before snaking through Nassau and Suffolk Counties.
Prior to its completion, certain sections of the LIE had distinctive names, which may or may not still apply, depending on who you are and what maps you go by. West of Queens Boulevard in Rego Park, the LIE was, and might still be, officially the Queens-Midtown Expressway. Its oldest section, dating from the 1940's west of the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway interchange, is very much still the Queens-Midtown.
Between Queens Boulevard and the Nassau County line, the LIE was intended to be the Horace Harding Expressway, named for some turn-of-the previous century bigwig who was NOT related to President Warren Harding, who some believe had a black father who passed for white, and whose wife was a bit of a nutcase who relied on the advice of quack doctors and spiritualists, but those are stories for another venue. In any event, Harding's name didn't evaporate as the LIE carved its way through the right-of-way of old Horace Harding Boulevard in the 1950's. The outer lanes of the wide boulevard were kept on as the expressway service roads and they remain offically named Horace Harding Expressway.

© 1998-2003, Jeff Saltzman. All rights reserved.