The story of New York City seems to be inseparable from the legacy of Robert Moses and the highway system he built.
An undertaking that began in 1922 when Moses drafted plans for the Grand Central Parkway, his vision would eventually add 20,000 acres of parkland to the city and miles upon miles of motorways.
Originally intended as an express connection between the eastern terminus of Queens Boulevard and Nassau County, Moses wanted to create an avenue of travel to make it easy for New Yorkers to commute out to Jones Beach and the parks of Long Island.
In July 1931, at a ceremony held at the Queens-Nassau border jointly attended by Moses and then-Governor Franklin D. Roosevelt, construction crews began building the initial nine-mile long, four-lane section of the Grand Central Parkway between Kew Gardens and Glen Oaks.
"He [Moses] wanted to use the rolling hills of northeast Queens... and created an expressway free of traffic lights that provided a scenic ride for drivers," said James Trent, president and co-founder of the Queens Farm Museum.
With pavement poured over glacial moraines — where stone deposited by receding ice sheets that once covered North America laid a bedrock foundation ideal for supporting the well-traveled road — it took over 10 years before Moses would see his vision completed.
Then after two years of construction the roadway opened to traffic on July 15th 1933.
"It didn't take long for the road to garner popularity... It became both the backbone of Long Island and the scene for some of the worst traffic in New York." said highway historian Howard Kroplick.
A distinction which remains in place today, according to Judy Cohen, a Little Neck resident and president of the North Hills Estates Civic Association.
"My husband and I love sitting on our front porch when it's nice outside and watching all the traffic roll by during rush hour," she said.
Today the Grand Central Parkway stretches just 14.61 miles, from the Robert F. Kennedy Bridge to the Queens-Nassau border.
Still this relatively short roadway covers a lot of ground physically and historically.
"Moses wanted to create faster, safer route for people to get around, but in-so-doing preserved the natural beauty around one of New York City's most traveled roadways," Kroplick said.