Grand Central Parkway

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Grand Central Parkway

Map of New York City with Grand Central Parkway highlighted in red
Route information
Maintained by NYSDOT
Length14.61 mi[1] (23.51 km)
RestrictionsNo commercial vehicles east of I-278
Major junctions
West end I-278 in Astoria
Major intersections
East end Northern State Parkway in Lake Success
CountryUnited States
StateNew York
CountiesQueens, Nassau
Highway system

The Grand Central Parkway (GCP) is a 14.61-mile (23.51 km) long parkway that stretches from the Triborough Bridge in New York City to Nassau County on Long Island. At the Queens–Nassau border, it becomes the Northern State Parkway, which runs across the northern part of Long Island through Nassau County and into Suffolk County, where it ends in Hauppauge. The westernmost stretch (from the Triborough Bridge to exit 4) also carries a short stretch of Interstate 278 (I-278). The parkway runs through Queens and passes the Cross Island Parkway, Long Island Expressway, LaGuardia Airport and Citi Field, home of the New York Mets. The parkway is designated New York State Route 907M (NY 907M), an unsigned reference route. Despite its name, the Grand Central Parkway was not named after Grand Central Terminal.

The Grand Central Parkway has a few unique distinctions. It is only one of two parkways in New York State to carry an elliptical black-on-white design for its trailblazer, the other being the Henry Hudson Parkway, also in New York City. Other parkways in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island use the state-standard design, while the Belt-system parkways use a modified version of the Long Island regional parkway shield with the Montauk Point Lighthouse logo. In addition, it is one of the few parkways in the state to allow truck traffic to any extent. The section shared with I-278 allows for all trucks under 14 feet (4.3 m) high.

Route description

The western end of the Grand Central Parkway concurrent with I-278 in Astoria, as seen facing the BMT Astoria Line

The Grand Central Parkway begins at exit 44 off eastbound I-278 (the Brooklyn–Queens Expressway) in the Astoria section of Queens. This is formerly Exit 3 of the Grand Central Parkway, but exit numbers were changed in the early 2000s to coincide with I-278's numbering scheme. Therefore, Exits 1 (RFK, then Triborough Bridge) and Exit 2 (Randalls Island) were also eliminated and became Exits 46 & 46A respectively. However, Exit 46A is only signed in the I-278 westbound direction (I-278 eastbound only exits to Manhattan and Randalls Island as a combined Exit 46). It is also noteworthy that geographically, I-278 runs North-South over the RFK Bridge, but has a cardinal direction of Eastbound toward the Bronx, and Westbound toward Queens, as I-278 continues in a cardinally "westerly" direction as it heads toward Brooklyn, Staten Island, and New Jersey. Incidentally, the short overlap portion of the Grand Central Parkway in Astoria is signed I-278 East/ GCP West in the Manhattan-bound direction (and vice versa in the Queens-bound direction). The leg of the RFK Bridge that connects Randalls Island with Manhattan Island is NYS Reference Route 900G.

The parkway proceeds east past St. Michaels Cemetery, entering exit 5, which serves 82nd Street and Astoria Boulevard in East Elmhurst, also connecting to the Marine Air Terminal and Terminal A of LaGuardia Airport. After crossing over 82nd Street and Ditmars Boulevard, the parkway enters the airport area, passing south of runway 4-22. During the reconstruction of the LaGuardia terminals, construction has been heavy in the vicinity of exits 6 and 7. As currently configured, eastbound exit 6 is an interchange with 94th Street while exit 7 forks northward on a ramp to the airport's terminals B, C and D. On the westbound side, exit 7 provides access to terminals C and D while exit 6 serves terminal B (in addition to 94th Street). After exit 7, the Grand Central bends southeast and away from LaGuardia Airport, paralleling the Long Island Sound into the eastbound only exit 8, which serves 111th Street.[3]

Entering the Corona section of Queens, the Grand Central enters exit 9, which serves NY 25A (Northern Boulevard) just west of Citi Field. The Grand Central then proceeds south, crossing under the Long Island Rail Road's Port Washington Branch and soon into Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. Through the park, the parkway passes west of Arthur Ashe Stadium, the Queens Zoo and the Unisphere before entering exit 10, a cloverleaf interchange with the Long Island Expressway (I-495). Soon crossing into Forest Hills, the parkway continues through Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, passing Meadow Lake, entering exit 11, connecting to 69th Road and Jewel Avenue in [in Forest Hills]. After that interchange, the parkway bends southeast through Forest Hills, passing Willow Lake and exit 12, which connects to NY 25 (Queens Boulevard) via 78th Avenue.[3]

Passing under Union Turnpike

The Grand Central continues its bend, now proceeding eastward over Jamaica Yard, entering the Kew Gardens Interchange (exits 13, 14 and 15), connecting I-678 (the Van Wyck Expressway), Union Turnpike and the Jackie Robinson Parkway in Kew Gardens. After the Kew Gardens Interchange, the Grand Central Parkway continues east into the Briarwood section of Queens, where exit 16 connects to Parsons Boulevard via a service road. After crossing through the developed neighborhood of Briarwood, the parkway enters Jamaica Hills, passing south of Queens Hospital near 164th Street. Proceeding westbound, an exit (exit 17) is present, connecting to 168th Street, while eastbound, exit 18 connects the Grand Central to Utopia Parkway.[3]

Depressed section through Jamaica

At the interchange with Utopia Parkway, the Grand Central passes south of St. John's University, soon winding northeast into exit 19, which serves 188th Street in Jamaica Estates. After exit 19, the parkway winds eastward into Cunningham Park, where it enters exit 20, which serves Francis Lewis Boulevard and exit 21, which connects to the Clearview Expressway (I-295) and its southern terminus. The parkway leaves Cunningham Park, entering the Bellerose section of Queens, entering exit 22, which connects to Union Turnpike via Stronghurst Avenue. The route then enters Alley Pond Park, where it interchanges with the Cross Island Parkway and Winchester Boulevard. After the interchange, the Grand Central passes west of Creedmoor Hospital, winding northeast into exit 24, which serves Little Neck Parkway before winding northeast to the Nassau County line in Little Neck. At this crossing, the parkway changes names to the Northern State Parkway, which continues east towards Hauppauge.[3]


The Grand Central Parkway was first proposed in 1922, as a scenic drive along the high ground of east-central Queens.[4] By the time construction began in 1931, it had been reconceived as extending northwestward to the Triborough Bridge, then in the planning stages, and connecting on the east with the Northern State Parkway, also in the planning stages, thereby among other things providing an easier route from the bridge to Jones Beach.[4] The parkway was widened in 1961 in preparation for the 1964 New York World's Fair in Flushing Meadows–Corona Park.

In 2010 construction began at Kew Gardens Interchange to improve traffic congestion. Formerly, the frontage road of the Grand Central between BQE and the RFK Bridge served as a truck route, since large trucks are not permitted on the parkway. Exemptions are provided for smaller trucks that conform with strict regulations, but only on the section of the Grand Central that overlaps with I-278.[5] In December 2017, the state concluded a $2.5 million project that lowered the roadbed of the section of the parkway that is concurrent with I-278. This section of I-278 now has a 14-foot (4.3 m) vertical clearance, which allows most trucks to stay on I-278.[6]

Exit list

The entire route is in the New York City borough of Queens


I-278 Toll east (RFK Bridge) – Manhattan, Bronx
Western terminus
4531st Street / Astoria BoulevardExit number follows I-278 sequence; Astoria Boulevard not signed eastbound
AstoriaEast Elmhurst
I-278 west (Brooklyn–Queens Expressway) – Brooklyn, Staten Island
East end of concurrency with I-278; exit number not signed eastbound
East Elmhurst1.342.165 Astoria Boulevard / 82nd Street – Terminal AAlso serves Steinway Street
2.263.646 94th Street – Terminal B ParkingWestbound exit is via exit 7
2.514.047 LaGuardia Airport – Terminals B and C
3.555.718111th StreetEastbound exit only
Corona3.796.109 I-678 (Whitestone Expressway) / NY 25A (Northern Boulevard)Signed as exits 9E (I-678/NY 25A east) and 9W (NY 25A west); no eastbound access to NY 25A west; exits 13B–C on I-678
Flushing Meadows–Corona Park4.397.079PFlushing Meadows–Corona Park, BJK Tennis CenterVia Shea Road; eastbound exit is via exit 9E
5.108.2110 I-495 (Long Island Expressway) – Manhattan, Eastern Long IslandSigned as exits 10W (west) and 10E (east); exits 22A-B on I-495
5.949.561169th Road / Jewel AvenueSigned as exits 11W (west) and 11E (east) westbound
6.5010.4612 NY 25 (Queens Boulevard) / 78th AvenueEastbound exit only
Kew Gardens Hills7.1911.5713
I-678 south (Van Wyck Expressway) – Kennedy Airport
Eastbound exit and westbound entrance; former exit 13S; exit 10 on I-678; Kew Gardens Interchange
Jackie Robinson Parkway west / Union Turnpike – Brooklyn
Former exit 13W; eastern terminus of Jackie Robinson Parkway; Kew Gardens Interchange
NY 25 west (Queens Boulevard) / Union Turnpike
Westbound exit and eastbound entrance; Kew Gardens Interchange
Briarwood8.1113.0516Parsons Boulevard / 164th StreetEastbound exit only
Jamaica HillsHillcrest
8.6413.9017I-678.svg Parsons Boulevard / 168th Street to I-678 south (Van Wyck Expressway)Westbound exit only
9.1314.6918Utopia ParkwayWestbound exit is part of exit 17
Jamaica EstatesHolliswood
9.8315.8219188th Street
Cunningham Park10.57–
20Francis Lewis BoulevardSigned as exits 20A (north) and 20B (south)

I-295 north (Clearview Expressway) / NY 25 (Hillside Avenue) to I-495 – Bronx
NYC's only stack interchange; exit 1 on I-295
Bellerose11.9319.2022Union TurnpikeWestbound exit is part of exit 23
Glen Oaks12.5620.2123
Cross Island Parkway to I-495 / Winchester Boulevard
Exit 29 on Cross Island Parkway
Glen OaksLittle Neck
13.6722.0024Little Neck Parkway
Northern State Parkway east – Eastern Long Island
Continuation into Nassau County
1.000 mi = 1.609 km; 1.000 km = 0.621 mi


  1. ^ a b "2007 Traffic Data Report for New York State" (PDF). New York State Department of Transportation. July 25, 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on June 12, 2012. Retrieved July 17, 2009.
  2. ^ "Lehman Will Open Parkways Today; New Road From Kew Gardens to Mineola to Relieve Auto Congestion in Queens. Cost $4,500,000 To Build. Moses, McAneny and Borough Heads to Inspect 12 Miles of Landscaped Highway." New York Times, July 15, 1933, Page 13; Baker, Matthew. "85 Years Ago Today... Grand Central Parkway Opened in Queens." It Happened Today in New York City, July 15, 2018.
  3. ^ a b c d Microsoft; Nokia (June 21, 2012). "overview map of the Grand Central Parkway" (Map). Bing Maps. Microsoft. Retrieved June 21, 2012.
  4. ^ a b "Grand Central Parkway". NYC Roads. Archived from the original on 23 July 2018. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  5. ^ "New York City Truck Route Map" (PDF). New York City Department of Transportation. June 8, 2015. Archived (PDF) from the original on February 24, 2018. Retrieved September 12, 2017.
  6. ^ Matua, Angela (December 15, 2017). "Trucks will be permitted on Grand Central Parkway in Astoria, ending 'soul-piercing' noise on local streets -". Queens Courier. Archived from the original on December 24, 2017. Retrieved December 24, 2017.
  7. ^ "Queens County Inventory Listing" (CSV). New York State Department of Transportation. August 7, 2015. Archived from the original on June 28, 2018. Retrieved September 5, 2017.

External links