by Kevin Walsh

NASSAU County residents know all about Hempstead Turnpike, one of its main east-west auto routes, synonymous with NY 24 for its entire length from the Queens line to East Farmingdale. Some of Nassau County’s chief attractions are arrayed along its length, from Belmont Park to Hofstra University to the Islanders’ former home, the Nassau Coliseum, to RXR Plaza, where I officially work, for publisher Marquis Who’s Who (but I work from home and have never traveled to headquarters, at least not yet!)

There is some dispute over where the name Hempstead comes from; like Gravesend, some say it’s Dutch in origin, some English. When the region was settled by the white man in the 1640s, proponents of the Dutch orgin say the name comes from the town of Heemstede in Holland; while English boosters say it comes from the home town of co-founder John Carman, who came from  Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire.

While Hempstead Turnpike is entirely contained in Nassau County (after leaving off its NY 24 designation at Broad Hollow Road in Farmingdale, it continues east as Conklin Street and Long Island Avenue as it pushes into Suffolk County, its Queens leg is little remarked on. The busy road begins at Jamaica Avenue and 212th Street at Litchhult Square and pierces through Queens Village until attaining Turnpike status at the cross Island Parkway and Belmont Park.

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Anonymous March 7, 2023 - 3:15 am

My father exited from the Cross Island onto Hempstead Av east and drove to 222 ND made a right and drove to the NYCTA Queens Village Bus Depot from when it was built in 1976 till he retired.

Andrew M March 7, 2023 - 7:58 am

And then there’s the Hempstead Ave. within Nassaua County, which runs from the Southern State Parkway to Fulton Ave.

Andy March 7, 2023 - 10:56 am

Andrew M is correct. There are two Hempstead Avenues in southwestern Nassau County. The one he refers to actually begins in Lynbrook, about two miles south of the SS Parkway, near Sunrise Highway. It travels roughly northeast, and indeed crosses the SS Parkway at Exit 17 and continues into the Village of Hempstead. There it merges onto Fulton Avenue, which is actually the same as Hempstead Turnpike (NYS Route 24) as it goes through the Village of Hempstead. East of the village boundary, where Hofstra University is located, it once again becomes Hempstead Turnpike. And to add to the confusion, east and west of the Village of Hempstead the Turnpike is within the Town of Hempstead, a large municipality that encompasses not only its village namesake but about one third of Nassau County’s territory.
There is also a second Hempstead Avenue nearby, which is entirely within the Village of Rockville Centre, just south of the Village of Hempstead. When Hempstead Ave. #2 crosses into the Village of Hempstead, just north of Molloy University, it becomes Franklin Street. It also crosses the SSP there, but there is no parkway exit there.
I’ve lived in the vicinity of both Hempstead Avenues for nearly 45 years, so this stuff is second nature to me. I know it sounds confusing – it’s just a vestige of the historical balkanization of governmental units in Nassau County, a vestige of the days when Long Island was more rural than urban.

Peter March 7, 2023 - 2:48 pm

Long Island Avenue follows a rather odd course in Suffolk County. It closely follows the LIRR track but exists in two segments. After using the Conklin Avenue moniker for a (very long) block east of Broadhollow Road/Route 110 as it skirts the northern end of Republic Airport. It then runs through Wyandanch and Deer Park, ending near the Deer Park LIRR station, along the way switching from the south side of the tracks to the north side.
But fear not, there’s still some life left in the road. About 12 miles further east in appears again in Holbrook, and runs six or seven miles before ending for good at Route 101 in Yaphank, across from the entrance to the NY&A’s Brookhaven rail yard and around where the zone of continuous suburban development gives way to less density (and not far from me).

Hart Sastrowardoyo March 9, 2023 - 3:21 pm

Just a SWAG, but looking at the map, and from what I remember, wasn’t Suffolk Avenue (CR 100) supposed to be extended and become NY 24? If not for the Sagtikos, I could see Long Island Avenue continuing as Suffolk Avenue, which continues on as Old Nichols Road at Vets Highway (although there is a dead end street branching off Suffolk called Old Suffolk Avenue.) I’d be curious what the plans were to connect Suffolk Avenue in Islandia with Long Island Avenue in Holbrook.

Stephen M March 7, 2023 - 4:11 pm

Franklin Square, we’d, as kids, catch the bus
on Hempstead Turnpike to Jamaica and Subway to Manhattan to the old coliseum and the
NY auto show or boat show. Or walk east to
West Hempstead and the old Island Garden

Anon March 7, 2023 - 6:35 pm

Hempstead Turnpike is signed as Hempstead-Bethpage Turnpike between Hofstra in Hempstead and NY 107 in…Plainedge?

JT Chiarella March 7, 2023 - 9:34 pm

It begins at 212th Place, not at either of two, disjoint 212th Streets.

Kevin Walsh March 8, 2023 - 5:25 pm

Close enough.


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