Progress and Protest: The Evolution of Public Works on Long Island under Governor Nelson A. Rockefeller

by Kara Schlichting

Jan 1, 2013
In the mid-twentieth century, parkways, highways, and expressways brought suburbanization to eastern Long Island. Until 1920, the island east of Brooklyn and Long Island City, Queens, remained open, predominantly rural territory. Subdivision and home-building booms of the 1920s and post-World War II era, however, substantially filled the territory to the Queens-Nassau border. In response to suburbanization in the 1920s New York had become the first state to develop a centralized park planning agency and an action plan for automobilefriendly regional park development. The island was not subject to metropolitan traffic and lacked any significant manufacturing centers; it seemed destined to support the city's recreation and residential needs, as Governor Smith often claimed. Throughout the 1930s Robert Moses realized this potential.
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