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'Black Beast' Returns to Garden City for Encore

Howard Kroplick stops by historic toll lodge with famed auto racer.

For folks who missed viewing the renowned 1909 Alco-6 "Black Beast" racer when it was exhibited at Garden City Village Hall before the board of trustees meeting June 17, the Garden City Chamber of Commerce provided those interested another opportunity Wednesday.

The "Black Beast" was on display under the canopy at the historic Garden City Toll Lodge, home of the chamber, between 10 a.m. and noon.

The "Black Beast" won the prestigious Vanderbilt Cup Races in 1909 and 19010 held on parts of the Long island Motor Parkway which opened in 1908 and was constructed by William K. Vanderbilt. The "Beast" was also a participant in the first Indianapolis 500 race in May 1911.

The restored 1909 Alco-6 "Black Beast" racer is one of the first six-cylinder race cars and one of only 12 known existing Alco cars of the 1,100 built from 1908-1913. Said to have attained a speed of 121 miles per hour, it was purchased by Long Islander Howard Kroplick in 2008 – returning to the United States after 25 years in Europe. 

It seems fitting that the "Black Beast" should be displayed at the Garden City Toll Lodge, originally located on Vanderbilt Court (east of Clinton Road) where the "Beast" entered the Motor Parkway. The Chamber of Commerce had moved the Toll Lodge to 230 Seventh Street (across from AAA) where it has served as its office for the past 21 years.