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Lynbrook historical odds and ends: The 1876 racetrack

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Lynbrook’s racetrack was adjacent to the Brooklyn City Aqueduct (Peninsula Boulevard today).
Lynbrook’s racetrack was adjacent to the Brooklyn City Aqueduct (Peninsula Boulevard today).
Courtesy Belcher Hyde Map, 1906

Editors note: Lynbrook historical odds and ends is a new column that will appear weekly and take a look back at some interesting facts and events in the village from over the years.

 

“An EXTREMELY exciting horserace occurred Saturday at the new racecourse back of E. W. Abrams house.  A large conduct of people attended.”

—From the Once-A-Week newspaper of 1876, published in Pearsalls, Lynbrook’s former name.

For 30 years, from 1876 to 1907, Lynbrook had its own racetrack. It was called the Driving Park. The track was located between today’s Driving Park Avenue and Peninsula Boulevard. Peninsula was not then a road. It was a long, open green space named “The Brooklyn City Aqueduct.” The aqueduct carried drinking water from Hempstead Lake to Queens and Brooklyn.

The Driving Park track featured horse races — both flats and trotters — and bicycle races. It also hosted oyster festivals, farmers’ markets, and fairs. In Pearsalls (and, after 1894, in the newly named Lynbrook) this was the place to go on warm, summer Saturdays.

 

Mattson is the official Lynbrook village historian and the director of the Historical Society of East Rockaway and Lynbrook. Additionally, he is the author of “The History of Lynbrook,” which is available on Amazon.com and at local libraries.