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Images of Gridlock on the Van Wyck Expressway Queens, New York

The image (above) is an expandable view of bumper to bumper rush hour traffic on a section of the Van Wyck Expressway. The location is identified by the source as being near the intersection of Queens Boulevard and Main Street. The photo dates to June 8, 1970, and includes 1957 to then-current vehicles.

Whenever one key piece of the transportation network in the greater New York City metropolitan area is not in service, all other forms of surface transportation slow down due to the resulting overload. Such is the case seen here in the expandable photo (below) of the Van Wyck dated to November 30, 1972, and taken at seven am in the morning after the Long Island Railroad was shut down due to a strike overnight. The press release with the picture states that “all major roadways reached rush hour proportions by five-thirty AM, forty-five minutes earlier than usual.”

Share with us what you find of interest in the photographs courtesy of the Queens Library.



18 responses to “Images of Gridlock on the Van Wyck Expressway Queens, New York

  1. In the lead photograph, driving toward the camera in the outside lane and at the back of the picture, is a circa 1962 RAMBLER American.

  2. See a Triumph Spitfire and a 1960s Mercedes-Benz sedan in the lane on the left. Photo shot on 35mm Tri-X (grainy, ASA 400+ for early-morning light) with 135 or 200mm lens to compress the image.

  3. In the lead photo or Item 1 of 2, I see a ’64 American on the left followed by a ’64 Plymouth…farther back, a M-B sedan and a ’63 or ’64 Chrysler and a likely ’59 Chevy and a ’68-ish Tempest.

    Middle lane a ’70 Chevy Impala or Caprice, a ’66 Skylark, a ’68 Cutlass, and a ’67 or ’68 Cadillac.

    In the 3rd/center lane, the American spotted by AML is probably a ’61 (without the “floating” grille of the ’62 or ’63. Maybe four cars behind that, a ’60 Cadillac. Up front a ’57 Ford Fairlane of some sort.

    In Item 2 of 2, to the right a ’70 or ’71 Satellite Sebring coupe followed by a ’67 Pontiac and a ’71 or ’72 Maverick or Comet…not sure which had the scoops either side of the hood bulge.

  4. Expanded version of lead image—left lane way back–a `68 Pontiac full-size wagon with what looks like a luggage rack on the roof. Dead-on view offers no clues if it’s a Catalina, Bonneville, or Executive.

  5. Old time grid-lock appears a lot more relaxed and polite compaired to what you see today. LOOK at the distance between the cars!

  6. Final pic.A VW cabriolet and a Dauphine? What really puzzles me is the van next to the UPS one.09.22 bst

  7. Every week when I look through these images, I play “Spot the Beetle” there are always a couple.

    They were reasonably popular here in the UK but they must have been big sellers all over the US.

  8. Wow. At the time of both of these pictures I was working on Queens Boulevard in Forest Hills/Rego Park (as I did for at least ten years) and commuting daily from Suffolk County. Now I complain if there are more than two cars at one of the stop lights up the street from me! I did not spot my 1969 VW Van in either of the pictures.

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