CITY LINE, Little Neck

by Kevin Walsh

TODAY I set the controls of my H.G. Wells Time Machine to 1938 and went just down the road from where I live to what is now Nassau Boulevard at 260th Street facing west. In 1938, this was actually one of the few paved roads in the area and connected what is now Little Neck with Elmhurst.

Horace Harding and Nassau Boulevards have an intertwined history. As early as the 1920s, a road called Nassau Boulevard extended from Queens Boulevard in Elmhurst east through Flushing, Bayside and Little Neck. In the 1930s, Nassau Boulevard became Horace Harding Boulevard, named for a prominent banker (1863-1929) who was actually more of a railroad executive than a motorcar buff, though he did financially support the construction of the road that bears his name.

From 1953-1958 New York traffic czar Robert Moses built the Long Island Expressway along the route of Horace Harding Boulevard, but diverged from the original route at Little Neck Parkway. The service roads along the LIE within NYC bore the Horace Harding Expressway name, but there was still a short piece of original road extending from the city line to a section of Lakeville Road.

In NYC that section would up with the old Nassau Boulevard name, while the portion in Nassau became Horace Harding Boulevard. However, once in Nassau County, it becomes Horace Harding Boulevard again! Politics, is all I can say.

In the 1938 photo, what looks like a farm can be seen at right, while the intersection with Little Neck Parkway is at the rear. Today, a Shell gas station has replaced the farm. The farmhouse itself survived until fairly recently and I mentioned it in FNY in 2007, the year I moved to Little Neck.

More from the Queens-Nassau border

Photo: Al Ponte’s Time Machine [Facebook]

As always, “comment…as you see fit.” I earn a small payment when you click on any ad on the site.



Andy November 15, 2022 - 11:57 am

I remember this location from as long ago as the mid-50s, when my family moved to a Nassau County neighborhood immediately to the east. I used to pass this intersection frequently. By the mid-1950s this part of Queens was already very built up, unlike the 1938 photo, because a lot of new residential construction occurred right after World War II.

Note that the large sign at the right says “25D – New York City.” That’s because Horace Harding Boulevard, before it became the LI Expressway (Interstate Route 495), was NY State Route 25D, part of a series of east west NYS routes connecting Queens to Nassau and Suffolk Counties. Northern Boulevard, about a mile north, is to this day NYS Route 25A. The small lettering at the bottom of the sign says “N Y State.”

When the LI Expressway was built through the area in the late 1950s, Horace Harding Boulevard in Queens was a ten lane surface arterial roadway. Its middle lanes were excavated for the six lane LIE main roadway, and its service lanes became the LIE service roads. It was a rare example of an urban expressway being built with minimal property takings.

Kevin Walsh November 15, 2022 - 7:03 pm

And Mr. Moses adamantly refused to leave room for a mass transit line.

Alan Gregg Cohen November 15, 2022 - 9:49 pm

In 1939-1940, Nassau/Horace Harding Boulevard was given the temporary moniker of Worlds Fair Boulevard, as it ran from both east from Lake Success, and west from Elmhurst through the middle of the Worlds Fair. After the fair closed in 1939, the street reverted back to the Horace Harding name. Although I am not certain, the area of South Elmhurst and northern Middle Village was called Nassau Heights prior to the Worlds Fair to some time afterwards, was probably given its name by a real estate developer for its proximately to the boulevard, and since “heights” was a popular appendage to give a higher class sounding name to a newly developed area. Examples of this naming convention were Jackson Heights, Flushing Heights (near Pomonok), Cambria Heights and Roslyn Heights.

Liman November 15, 2022 - 3:51 pm

Great photo. Heading east, Nassau Blvd. does become Horace Harding Blvd. after the city line. But it has a murky history after that. A couple of blocks into Nassau County, with Bates Road merges into Horace Harding Blvd. Bates Road runs east-west and was historically called Lakeville Road, but not the north-south Lakeville Road we know today. Horace Harding Boulevard then is sometimes referred to by an old name, Powerhouse Road (there was a street sign noting this in the not-too-distant past). According to Google Maps (which is not infallible), as Horace Harding approaches Lakeville Road it becomes the L.I.E. service road retaining the Horace Harding name… but only on the westbound side of the street. The eastbound side is called Fairway Drive, which was a pre-existing street running along the Lake Success golf course until the L.I.E. was built and truncated the golf course. As if that is not enough, my research shows the whole Bates Road-Horace Harding- Fairway Drive section was originally the western end of I.U. Willets Road, which ran a serpentine course to Old Westbury (most of it still exists under that name).

Clarice Joos November 15, 2022 - 11:40 pm

When the farmhouse was still there, was it right behind the Valerie Arms apartment building, across LNP from the Shell station?
I grew up in Little Neck just on the other side of the expressway from there. Hard to believe the difference in that one intersection in the 30 years between your picture and the year I was born.

Kevin Walsh November 16, 2022 - 12:17 am

Across the street

jerry friedman November 16, 2022 - 8:40 am

It’s interesting that the top sign, says “New York City”, which makes sense. But the bottom sign, which one would think is differentiating between actual counties, also says “New York City”, when of course there is no such named County (and I know Manhattan is “New York County”, but not relevant here….)

Betsy Flehner Heen November 17, 2022 - 2:42 am

This piece rekindled some very sweet memories. My family moved to Little Neck in 1956. We moved into one of the «California Ranch» houses constructed for GI veterans. We lived on 256th St and 57th Avenue, and the bottom of our street was a med pool. I have recollections of the opening of the LIE, and if my memory isn’t playing a trick, the Governor of NY, Avril Harriman came to the opening. We were a bunch of kids who stood in Ine to get his autograph, but when it came to me, he left. So I asked for the autograph of the guys who were taking down the chairs!!!! I was just as happy! THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES.

Michael A Richman November 18, 2022 - 10:14 am

My school bus crossed path with Governor Harriman’s motorcade on the day he opened the expressway. I went to Great Neck South which abuts the south service road.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.