Feb 07 2016

Amazing Aerials from the Cradle of Aviation: #2 1955 Mitchel Field and Salisbury Park Updated: 2/13

The second exclusive aerial from the Cradle of Aviation Museum collection documents Mitchel Field Air Force Base and Salisbury Park in East Meadow on January 28, 1955.  Discover the hidden treasures revealed in the closeups.

Enjoy Super Bowl Sunday!

Howard Kroplick

Mitchel Field

As seen by the airplanes parked on the right and in the branches, Mitchel Field was very busy in 1955.

The extension of Runway 23 had not yet begun.

As seen in November 1956, the concrete extension of Runway 23 was complete.

Meadow Brook Golf Club and Meadowbrook State Parkway

Construction of the Meadowbrook State Parkway had just begun in this section. Note the outline of the parkway cutting right through the old Meadow Brook Golf Club, taken over by eminent domain.

Meadow Brook Polo Club

The Meadow Brook Polo Field was still very much intact.

The Long Island Motor Parkway

Look closely (upper right corner) and you will see the keyhole-shaped entrance to the Meadow Brook Lodge from Merrick Avenue. A comparison of the 1955 aerial with the below 1931 aerial confirms that this lodge was taken down prior to January 28, 1955.

The entrance to the Motor Parkway at the Meadow Brook Lodge and the Merrick Avenue Motor Parkway Bridge as seen in 1931.

Another discovery- the remnants of the Motor Parkway were used as a golf cart path in 1955.

Intersection of Merrick Avenue and Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow

Racers roared down Hempstead Turnpike here as part of the 1904 Vanderbilt Cup Race.

The Central Island Restaurant was the second building on the south west corner.

Dave Shor, the Shake Shack of its day, was at the south east corner.

Dave Shor. It was always Dave Shor's to all my fellow East Meadowers. Color 1950 postcard submitted by Gary Hammond.

This undated postcard shows the Central Island Restaurant at the same location. Submitted by Gary Hammond.

As noted by Frank Borrelli's below comment, the Central Island Restaurant was purchased by the Borrelli family in 1955 and celebrated its 60th anniversary last year. Borrelli's expanded the building in 1962 to its present size (except for the bar which was added later.)

Then & Now

Then: 1955

Now: 2016

Note: The concrete extension of Runway 23 is still intact today.

It was here that Sonny Corleone was gunned down in the Godfather!

Submitted by Lee Chambers

Lee Chambers: In1958 I was about 7 years before we moved to LI.  So I'm curious about several things:

1) What is the building in the red circle adjacent to the original route of Stewart Avenue which cut through the golf course?  Could that have been the Salisbury Club?  If so, when was it torn down?

Howard Kroplick: The building is still standing and used by Nassau County as the Special Activities Center.

2) I've indicated the approximate position of Meadow Brook Club Road (though it's hard to see since it was lined by trees) where it intersected with Merrick Avenue just before Stewart Avenue.  In the opposite direction it continued under the old Central Railroad of LI trestle that still stands today in the woods inside the transition loop going from Eastbound Stewart Ave. to Northbound Meadowbrook Parkway.

Howard Kroplick: See below Femenias's Findings, the trestle is still in place.

3) I've also shown where the rail line came in from Mitchel Field as well as the Salisbury Plains RR station.  Isn't it curious how many cars are parked adjacent to the station?  Service on that line ended in May, 1953 (the only exception was once nightly passenger service to Roosevelt Raceway through 1964).  Just to the west of the trestle the line was cut for Parkway construction in 1955.

4) Why would there be so many cars parked at a railroad station no longer in use?  What was that building being used for in 1958?  Regardless, that building wasn't very large and would hardly seem to be able to support so many people with that many cars whatever it was being used for.  Could it have been overflow parking for the Meadow Brook Club on the other side of the railroad tracks?  Any ideas?

Howard Kroplick: The cars are parked for the building which was the former clubhouse for the private Salisbury Country Club. I believe the building was used in the 1950s and 1960s as research laboratories for NYU.

Clubhouse for the Salisbury Country Club

The clubhouse for the Salisbury Country Club was located west of Merrick Avenue.

Note the Central Railroad tracks in the foreground.

As posted on golfonlongisland.com , " four of the five Salisbury courses were lost during and after World War II – the lone survivor was Salisbury #4, where Walter Hagen won the 1926 PGA Championship.  It remains popular today as Eisenhower Park’s Red Course."

The building and its very busy lot as seen in 1955.

According to Sam Berliner III, in the 1950s the building became the production facility for Hank Viscardi, Jr.'s Abilities, Inc. (now the National Center for Disablities Services and the Henry Viscardi School.) Around 1980, NYU took over the facility as a physics research center and added a high-pressure sphere and additional space. The facility was abandoned approximately in 1995.

Kleiner's Korner (Submitted by Art Kleiner)

On March 17, 2000, The Westbury Times reported the sad history of the building which in 2000 was listed as a federal Superfund cleanup site.

The former clubhouse was taken down several years ago and was replaced by this modern office building. It is home of  Local 1500 of the United Food and Commercial Workers.

Femenias' Findings (Submitted by Frank Femenias)


Feb 07 2016 S. Berliner, III 3:28 PM

Whoops - forgot area coverage at http://sbiii.com/limpmaps.html#mitchel .  So many other pages but Meadowbrook Club coverage at http://sbiii.com/lirrcrr1.html#slsbrypl , among those many others.  Sam, III

Feb 11 2016 FRANK BORRELLI 12:13 PM

central island restaurant   was purchased 1n 1955 by the borrelli family   60 years later still BORRELLIS RESTAURANT

Hi Frank, thanks for solving the mystery. I have enjoyed your family’s restaurant for many years!

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