Richmond Parkway Interchange

August 11th, 2011 -

In his quest to radically transform New York City's built environment, Robert Moses left behind many scars on the land, blighting communities with wastelands and ruins. One reminder of the Master Builder's incomplete mission to redesign the city's infrastructure still hovers above Staten Island. Moses built more than 400 miles of parkways during his long reign, but the Richmond Parkway Interchange - one mile of twisting concrete paths - is a symbol of his final days in power. It has been abandoned for 45 years.

The Richmond Parkway "was originally intended to be 9.5 miles long" according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, and would have connected southern Staten Island to the Staten Island Expressway via the Richmond Parkway Interchange, providing quick access to the nearby Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, which was completed in 1964 as "the last great public works project in New York City overseen by Robert Moses," according to Wikipedia. The plan for the parkway was to cut through what is now the Staten Island Greenbelt, tearing down pristine forests, threatening Pouch Camp and devastating the Blood Root Valley. The southern section of the parkway - known today as the Korean War Veterans Parkway - had already been completed and construction of the interchange was well underway: "Earth and rock blasted away for the highway was hauled to a remote area eventually forming a 260-foot-high mound ironically nicknamed 'Moses Mountain',” according to the Greenbelt Conservancy.

Abandoned Ramp into the Greenbelt

Mt. Moses Leftovers

The Richmond Parkway Interchange was nearly complete before members of the community were able to stop the planned destruction of the Greenbelt. "Intrepid citizen-activists vigorously protested the highway and won their battle," according to the Greenbelt Conservancy, and "in 1966 Mayor John Lindsay ordered a halt" to construction on the northern section of the Richmond Parkway, according to the NYC Department of Parks & Recreation. The victory helped galvanize the creation of the Greenbelt, "the largest of New York City’s five flagship parks," according to the Greenbelt Conservancy, with "more than 2,800 acres of public and private land." For Robert Moses, who had "thrust many of New York's great ribbons of concrete across an older and largely settled urban landscape," according to the NY Times, it was a rare defeat at the end of a long career, and "his last significant hold on power was lost in 1968."

The Richmond Parkway Interchange remains abandoned today, covered in juvenile graffiti from a nearby high school and littered with empty liquor bottles. The curving roads above the Staten Island Expressway are spotted with weeds, while trees and shrubs have reclaimed the inland ramps. On the side of the road, cars rust in the woods, tree trunks in their engine blocks, like some post-apocalyptic version of a city once ruled by automobiles.

Upper Road Entrance

Upper Deck

High School Party

Lower Deck

Over the Staten Island Expressway

Empty Concrete

Sunnyside Gaelic

Vanishing Road

Guard Rail

Overgrown Chrome

Forest Smile

Wrecked Car

End Of The Road


  1. Great shots.
    This could be turned in to the High Line of Staten Island!

  2. it should have been built

  3. @Hugo.. there are many possibilities that could reconstruct the poor idea into a great community asset. @ anon... it would only have increased the congestion by allowing more development without a master plan.

  4. It seems like they could clean it up and maybe make it more integrated with the park. Maybe use it as walking paths and bike path. Make the over pass into a green belt park. I've seen pictures of this done with old rail stations. Hopefully someday some one will want to clean it up. Maybe a project for the High school that's nearby? Seems like their time could be better spent beautifying their city and parks instead of adding to the ugliness and destruction.

  5. Nice pics and intresting story.. I might have to head up there and see it for myself. Thank you for sharing


  6. Well, looking at the latest satellite images from Google, it's gone now. I guess they're doing some sort of renovations or overhaul to the parkway and they tore this down now and practically removed any trace of the abandoned roads. This sucks...

  7. The road cuts are through asbestos containing rock.

  8. Build the parkway

  9. yes let's cut down every tree and burn every bush we don't really need them. when there's no more oxygen humans will start breathing the car exhaust. the animals will all die but we don't need them either. we can always eat each other like the pilgrims did.

    1. You wouldn't be cutting down every tree and burning every bush, if the parkway had been completed.

  10. These conservationists stood idly by in the 1960s and 70s, as mass development of unregulated and poorly planned home construction destroyed untold acres of virgin land and forests and created the slums of the future. Sure, the Greenbelt is beautiful and conservation matters. However, a two lane highway in each direction, North and South, through the Greenbelt would have hardly destroyed this vast preserve ! The damage of too much traffic is far worse today without this vital link that was never completed. The population of Staten Island exploded after the bridge opened in 1964, and the Richmond Parkway was started in 1966. It was mapped, almost half completed and funding in place, when Mayor John Lindsay halted the project in 1972 for good. This vital link between the Outerbridge Crossing to the extreme South, connecting it to the S.I. Expressway and the Verrazano Narrows Bridge to the North, never being realized is a national disgrace ! Today, traffic jams, pollution and over crowding are the very real result of saving a few trees and a swamp from completing this highway.

  11. I agree with marko the parkway needs to be built it is a pain going over the Goethals bridge to the si expressway, I much rather use the outer bridge crossing and the Korea war vets parkway it would save some time getting to the Verrazano bridge, I am tired of sitting in traffic in jersey and the si expressway the parkway needs to be built. And the state will argue there is no money well I have no problem paying a temporary toll for the new road until the construction bonds are paid off. Build the parkway.

  12. You gotta be crazy and/or shook to want to live on Staten Island.