The Long Island Expressway (LIE) extends into New York City as the Queens-Midtown Expressway and the Horace Harding Expressway. The LIE has long been known for its bumper-to-bumper traffic.
The LIE nickname of “the world’s longest parking lot” (also “the world’s largest parking lot” and “the world’s biggest parking lot") has been cited in print to at least 1963.
Wikipedia: Interstate 495 (New York)
Interstate 495 (I-495) is an auxiliary Interstate Highway on Long Island in New York in the United States. The route extends for 71 miles (114 km) from the western portal of the Queens-Midtown Tunnel in the New York City borough of Manhattan to County Route 58 in Riverhead, Suffolk County. I-495 does not intersect its parent route, I-95; however, it does connect to I-95 through I-295, which it meets in Queens. The portion of I-495 in Suffolk County is known as the Long Island Expressway (LIE), a name commonly applied to the entirety of I-495. The section of the route west of the Nassau–Suffolk county line is also named the Queens–Midtown Expressway west of Queens Boulevard and the Horace Harding Expressway east of Queens Boulevard.
Long Island Expressway (I-495)—Historic Overview
DOUBLE-DECKING THE LIE: Only a few years after its first section opened, the Long Island Expressway was fast becoming known as “the world’s largest parking lot.”
13 May 1963, New York (NY) Times, “State Warns Contractors to End Lag in World’s Fair Road Jobs” by Joseph C. Ingraham, pg. 42:
Although work on the Long Island Expressway has been completed, construction of a new interchange with the Van Wyck extension has turned the Long Island artery in that vicinity into what motorists describe as “the biggest parking lot in Queens.”
4 August 1963, New York (NY) Times, “L.I. Expressway: A Dilemma” by Joseph C. Ingraham, pg. 303:
NEW York’s highway doctors are faced with a cruel dilemma. A road prescribed less than 10 years ago as a specific remedy for the post-war traffic ills that were beginning to plague the eastern metropolitan area now has become part and parcel of the ailment.
In fact, the road—officially known as the Long Island Expressway and unofficially dubbed “the world’s longest parking lot”—easily qualifies as an emergency case.
Google News Archive
22 December 1965, Hendersonville (NC) Times-News, “Town Topics” by Mead Parce, pg. 7, col. 4:
Folks on Long Island call the Long Island Expressway the “Longest Parking Lot in the World”
19 March 1967, New York (NY) Times, pg. SM1:
The Longest Parking Lot—The Long Island Expressway
Google News Archive
18 January 1973, Beaver County (PA) Times, “Long Island Rail Service To Resume,” pg. B9, col. 4:
Even before the strike the 73-mile Long Island Expressway was referred to—not so jokingly—as the “World’s Longest Parking Lot.”
14 December 2007, Newsday (Long Island, NY), pg. A18:
A wintry mess on Island World’s longest parking lot? That’s the LIE as snow, rain and sleet snarl evening rush hour for 40 miles; many accidents involve SUVs
By Laura Rivera