Car and history enthusiasts turned out Saturday to celebrate the restoration of the Motor Parkway Bridge in Old Bethpage.
Members of the Long Island Parkway Preservation Society have spent the last six years clearing the Vanderbilt Motor Parkway Bridge at the Old Bethpage Restoration. The bridge was built in 1910 and formed part of the parkway, which was in use until 1938. Until Saturday, no cars had used the bridge since then.
Cars built before 1939 were welcome at Saturday's event and several owners of vehicles from the early decades of the 20th Century showed up, members of the Long Island Model A Ford Club. Members of both organizations chatted about the roadway's cleanup, their vehicles and spoke knowledgeably of broader Long Island history. At one point, a man in a Civil War uniform, practicing for a re-enactment, appeared.
The cars made a circuit along wooded pathways, crossing the bridge many had labored so long to clean up. Children and adults alike smiled as the restored cars made their way over rough paths more smoothly than did some newer vehicles.
But the star of the show was the 1909 Alco-6 Racer owned by Howard Kroplick of East Hills. The head-turning, powerful vehicle with an 11-foot chassis is nicknamed the Black Beast. It won two consecutive Vanderbilt Cup races, competed in the inaugural Indianapolis 500 and won numerous other prizes.