Fun with Highways: Kew Gardens Interchange

Returning to San Francisco from New York often involves a highway trip to JFK Airport, and there is one spot along the Van Wyck Expressway (I-678) that is almost always guaranteed to come to standstill, the Kew Gardens Interchange:


The Van Wyck Expressway runs vertically in this picture, from the center top to the center bottom.  The Grand Central Parkway runs from the upper left to the center right.  The Jackie Robinson Parkway runs from the lower left to the interchange where it ends at the Grand Central Parkway.  The Union Turnpike runs along either side of the parkway.  Finally, the main surface thoroughfare through Queens, Queens Boulevard (NY 25) is in the lower left corner.


One doesn’t really see the complexity of this interchange from the road, just a series of exits in quick succession (or not so quick when one is barely moving), and in fact that it seems like the Van Wyck is merging into another, narrower road at the end, before the reassuring signs that one is still on the right road to the airport. It often seems like many of the larger highways in New York are really stitched together from older, smaller, highways.

This interchange was featured on Empire State Roads, with more information and images.

I have been on the parkways as well of course.  The Jackie Robinson Parkway winds its way narrowly towards Brookyln through parks and near several cemeteries.  I have relatives who reside in at least one of them.

6 thoughts on “Fun with Highways: Kew Gardens Interchange

  1. I realize that in the screenshot/map, the Jackie Robinson Parkway is labeled with its previous name, “Interborough Parkway”. All though other info remains the same.

  2. I recall one episode where George and Kramer are heading to JFK, and probably took the Van Wyck.
    The only thing I remember from it was the catchy “I want to stop at the duty free shop. I want to stop at the duty free shop…”

    Now I of course have that stuck in my head (yet again) 🙂

  3. This interchange is being reconstructed in three contracts over the next 8 years. When all is done, the trip should be a lot easier. The existing interchange was built in the 1930’s, and added to in the 1950’s and again in the 1960’s for the World’s Fair. Each time it got more complex.

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