Way back in 1927, there was a race track where Juniper Valley Park is today. It was a seven-eighths of a mile dirt track and was surrounded by farms. There were five large grandstands and a brass band that played marches.
The track had quite a history too. It was owned by Arnold Rothstein, one of America's most notorious gamblers. Many big names were on hand to watch the races.
New York's celebrated Mayor Jimmy Walker and some big politicians could often be seen in the stands.
This track was called the Metropolitan Heights Fairgrounds. It was built between Maspeth and Middle Village and was promoted by Billy Wellman and Bill Darraugh. Wellman was a flier in the Lafayette Escadrille during World War I and also a race car driver.
This track was probably the only track in America on which horses, dogs, autos and motorcycles supplied the action at various times. Night races were held under the illumination of carbon lights, strung around on high poles. They weren't very bright and they flickered but the races went on nevertheless.