by Kevin Walsh

I’ve been to Little Neck on a street with three names and as you can see, it was good to be out on a day without rain…

Believe it or not, the little road, which runs from Douglas Manor through Udall’s Cove to Little Neck Parkway, is one of only two streets in northern Little Neck and Douglaston that runs between the two neighborhoods. And, it has three names, depending on where you are or who is making the maps!

West from Little Neck Parkway; looking east toward LNP

The road appears to be a little-traveled country lane but, since it works as a short cut to Douglaston it is actually a very busy two-way street. Note that the city’s busiest grade crossing, at the Little Neck LIRR station, adjoins its end at Little Neck Parkway. The Department of Transportation has not installed a street sign.

Hm, if the Department of Transportation has no opinion, at least at this end, what’s the name of the road? Both Google and Hagstrom agree that the east end, at Little Neck Parkway, is called Sandhill Road. Note Bayshore Blvd. on the google map–we’ll return to that later.

I walked west on the road from Little Neck Parkway. Beautiful house with a porch on two sides–catches the sun both ways. Then comes a neo-Tudor.

The next building is home to an art school, and then comes a long-ago teardown. Perhaps funding didn’t come through for whatever was supposed to be built there. The road then curves NW toward Douglas Manor…and we find the entrance to Udalls Cove Park and Aurora Pond…

In 1833, Richard Udall, for whom the cove is named, bought a mill formerly owned by the Allen family on the eastern side of the cove. The mill, now called the Saddle Rock Mill, remained in the Udall family until 1950, when it was donated to the Nassau County Historical Society. During the 1830s, a shellfishing community developed around the docks at Old House Landing Road (now Little Neck Parkway). The industry thrived as the demand for oysters and Little Neck Clams (Venus mercenaria) grew. But by 1893, the local shellfishing industry was finished; overharvesting, poaching, and pollution had destroyed it. Today, the stanchions and bulkheads at the end of Little Neck Parkway are all that remain of the bygone era.

The Udalls Cove Preservation Committee initiated the acquisition of Udalls Park Preserve. The group of local residents organized in 1969 in order to prevent development of the land and promote public ownership. Udalls Cove was first mapped as a New York City park on December 7, 1972, but many subsequent additions have increased the size of the park. The preserve was created by a cooperative agreement between Parks and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation; the state owns most of the land, but Parks manages the property. NYC Parks

At the northern edge of the ravine… is Aurora Pond. This pond is named for Aurora Gareiss, co-founder of the Udalls Cove Preservation committee in 1969, who along with Virginia Dent fought for over 20 years to insure that this rare natural wetland would receive publicly sanctioned environmental protection….the pond and the ravine surrounding it are home to many different animals throughout the year. These include wood ducks (Aix sponsa), blue-winged warblers (Vermivora pinus), Louisiana water thrushes (Turdus), and fowlers toads (Bufo woodhousei fowleri). NYC Parks

[Hm, some of those Latin bird names sound positively obscene]

In 2006, Aurora Pond provided the backdrop for a Forgotten NY Hoodie photo session with Linda.






After passing Aurora Pond we come to the only house between the pond and where the road ends at Douglas Road. Ah, here’s a definite clue about the name of the road: Sandhill Road, right there in white and black. Note the great Photoshop job your webmaster did protecting the owners’ privacy! Those years at the Center for the Media Arts weren’t wasted huh?

The Department of Transportation, though, begs to differ with the owners, since at the intersection of Douglas Road, they label the intersecting street (the one we’ve been on) as “Bayshore Boulevard” (remember that google map above?)

Remembering something I’d seen earlier I doubled back and retraced my path toward Little Neck Parkway, passing long-ago pavement stones.

Ah, there it is, on one of the houses near Little Neck Parkway. A mailbox, with the address 247-42 39th Avenue.

So, what’s happening? Three names?

The section from Douglas Road to Aurora Pond is called Sandhill Road, and still uses Queens’ old house numbering system….hence, 35 Sandhill Road.

The part from Aurora Pond to Little Neck Parkway is 39th Avenue, and uses Queens’ “new” system, adopted in the 1920s. BOTH maps shown above are incorrect.

Bayshore Blvd.? You’ll have to ask the DOT.