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Queens New York Then and Now: Nassau Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway

The old saying “Nothing Stays the Same Forever” is certainly true in this case as not much of anything other than some of the earth in this March 24, 1929 view of Nassau Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway intersection located in the Little Neck neighborhood of Queens, New York has survived.

Nassau Boulevard has been replaced by the Horace Harding Expressway and the Douglaston Parkway has been reconfigured. Both roadways now intersect each other at a ninety-degree angle next to a bridge that crosses over the Long Island Expressway, the location can be viewed in recent pictures accessed from the left-hand side of this map.

Share with us what you find of interest (above) in the enlargement of the lead image and (below) in the original photo courtesy of the Queens Library.

16 responses to “Queens New York Then and Now: Nassau Boulevard and Douglaston Parkway

  1. That kind of traffic is infuriating today. I’m trying to imagine what it would have been like in a car with two-wheel mechanical brakes, a heavy clutch pedal, no synchronizers, and a tendency to overheat. And then there’s the fumes. Even today, when I get behind a pre-emissions-controls car, I’m surprised by the smell of unburned hydrocarbons.

    I suspect the drivers parked on the grass decided to wait it out. Either that, or they overheated and stalled, and are waiting to cool down.

    • You’re right.
      The old guys who complain about today’s cars (not that they’re entirely wrong) seemingly haven’t looked at most of the cars from the 20s to early 30s.

    • I suspect that sense that cars all used to be distinct came from growing up in the fifties, specifically about 1956 to 1962 — the Buck Rogers years. That’s when cars really stood out, though not necessarily in a good way.

      The other possibility is that vintage cars seem more distinct when you go to shows and see cars spread over a number of decades. Your ’23 Oldsmobile is more likely to be parked next to a ’48 DeSoto than a ’23 Studebaker.

  2. Closest to camera is a 1927 Pontiac coach. Beside it is, I think, a Hudson coach, maybe 1925 or so?

    There is another Hudson coach on the verge with its driver’s door open.

    Visible above the left rear of the ’27 Pontiac is a 1929 Buick with what might be a ‘winter front’ on it.

    The radiator of the car next to the Buick looks like a Studebaker Special Six of about 1924-26, but the badge is wrong. Back to thinking about it.

    I can see above the right rear corner of the ’29 Buick what might be a Standard Six Dodge from 1928, and above that is a big Studebaker from about 1926.

    The third car back in the line closest to the fence looks to be a Durant.

    Way back in the queue, not far from the closest telephone pole is a roadster, which might be a boat tail Essex.

    There is a noticeable lack of Fords.

    • I thought about that I don’t see any Ford Model T’s. I would have thought half the cars would be Model T’s in ’29.

  3. The first car next to the fence looks like a 28 Pontiac, following by a well worn 25 Paige. The car next to the Paige look like it has a Pines Winterfront Radiator Cover.

  4. Looks like there may have been an accident as you can see people looking over two cars at the merge point. This maybe what caused the back up, even back then, two autos can’t occupy the same piece of road.

  5. Not only a dearth of T Fords, also a dearth of open cars! The newest car I see is the aforementioned ’29 Buick. For only about four years after sales of closed new cars surpassed open cars, I would expect to see more than about four open cars in that bunch! Sure a neat looking sporty open roadster just back of the merging curve beyond the cars parked off the road. Also a nice light colored (I think roadster) waiting to make a left turn to go the other way (good luck with that!). Not enough detail or clarity to identify either of them.
    Also, being likely ’29, that Paige is looking tired and dirty. Maybe it is just dirty. Being no more than three years old, it shouldn’t be that tired yet. Actually, nearly ALL the cars except the Paige look remarkably clean! Even the two year old Pontiac!

    Another Item worth noting. Just before the merge, is a stalled car with at least two men standing in front of the radiator. Other cars are trying to push around them on both sides.

    A wonderful photo! Thank you David G!

  6. Roland Jewett, the Pontiac is a ’27 because it does not have front brakes.

    Wayne Sheldon the Paige is no later than 1927 because that was the last year for Paige. From 1928 they became Graham-Paige with a new line of cars. The Paige being the car I thought bore a resemblance to a Studebaker.

    • No worries. I wasn’t clear in my comment. I was meaning the photo is likely 1929 based upon the ’29 Buick being the newest car clear enough to identify the year. Several cars from ’27 and ’28 appear to be nearly new, including the ’27 Pontiac.
      My family has had a ’27 Paige 6-45 (the Jewett carryover) for many years, and I have had a fondness for the Paige Detroit automobiles for a long time. They are a marque that really deserves more attention in the antique automobile world. Harry Jewett was a very interesting automotive pioneer that got into the business to protect his investment from poor design and lousy business practices. College educated and trained as an engineer, he had already made a fortune as a coal broker, often solving engineering issues in order to deliver on time. After investing in the fledgling Paige company, he realized his investment was in serious jeopardy, and turned his expertise to turning the company around. Within two years, Paige Detroit was making a solid profit, and only lost money in one year before he decided to retire. That year was the post WWI recession, and also the only year Ford lost money with the model T.
      In the mid ’20s, the “big four” (Ford, General Motors, Durant, and the upcoming Chrysler) were competing to buy up most of the small component suppliers and Paige found themselves in a difficult position to “assemble” their quality cars. Although the Paige was an assembled car, they specified most components to their design and approval, and most components were higher quality than what many “assembled” cars used. In 1925 and ’26, many of their best suppliers had sold out to one of the big four, and they had difficulties finding replacement suppliers. Harry Jewett at this time was well into retirement age, and had made a couple personal fortunes. Given the state of the automotive industry at the time, no one wanted to take over as head of the company and fail, hence, the sale to the Graham brothers.

      I haven’t checked any of my books or original advertisements, but I suspect the car in the picture is either a ’26 6-72, or a ’27 6-65. Both of those had that distinctive radiator shell.

  7. The car in front right with the woman with the cloche hat is a Hudson . Above off the road with a man exiting it is another Hudson coach. The car with the side mount in the inner ring is another Hudson, I suggest.

  8. HUdsons everywhere! The car facing the camera at the rear of the group parked off-road is also a Hudson, a 1929 model.

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