The Vanderbilt Cup Race never failed to draw people of wealth and social status including the family of William Cullen Bryant (1794-1878), the prominent poet, newspaper editor and civic leader.
In his1972 book "Early History of Roslyn Harbor Long Island", Bryant's great-grandson Conrad Godwin Goddard recalled the Vanderbilt Cup Races:
"The great automobile sporting event of that era was the race for the William K. Vanderbilt, Jr. Cup. Enthusiasts like myself would get up while it was dark, in the early morning hours, for a week beforehand and watch the racing cars practice around the highway course, a part which followed the North Hempstead Turnpike from Greenvale to Cedar Swamp Road. Most of the cars had 4-cylinder gasoline engines of about 60 to 75 horsepower, each carrying both a driver and a mechanic who pumped the fuel. It was a great social event and everyone, in order to get a good view, sat on top of their car seat backs and enjoyed picnic luncheons. The crowds were somewhat unruly, however, and I have seen a racing car going down the road at full speed directly toward a solid crowd of people, who didn't open a patch until it was only a couple of hundred feet away, and who closed in immediately after it had passed. As a result of these dangerous conditions, the race finally had to be given up."