I know that there are people who like to rewrite history to make it fit their agenda. But that does not mean they can get away with it. I read with astonishment the letter that Leo Pfeifer submitted in the Sept. 4 edition of the Great Neck News. He first states that I do not stand up for my “constituents’ needs.” I have always fought for the residents in the Plaza.
One such important fight where I successfully prevailed had to do with the Station Branch of the Great Neck Library. I heard that they were not going to renew their lease and instead were moving that branch to a different Village. I knew how important that branch was to be in walking distance, especially to senior citizens and families in the apartments nearby and the Atria across the street. I started a petition gathering over 450 residents’ names from the Atria and apartments and presented them to the Library’s Board of Trustees. I attended countless library meetings and each time, I spoke on the value of keeping that branch in the Gardens Shopping Center. With the mayor’s help, we negotiated with the landlord and saved the Station Branch from leaving our village.
Before joining the Village, I also spoke at the Town of North Hempstead in favor of the Great Neck Road traffic-calming project. Since I lived on Knightsbridge Road, I understood how dangerous that road was as a two-lane road. I believe that my attendance and insight into that road project helped the town realize how important it was to make a newer and safer road. I have always fought for betterment of our community.
The next incredulous part of Mr. Pfeifer’s letter is in regard to the Middle Eastern restaurant Tulip. It was not a nightclub as he stated but a restaurant that had asked if they could have entertainment on Saturday nights. We strictly enforced the hours that were approved. When the Pfeifers came to complain that the patrons were hanging outside after dinner, we brought the owner back to the Village and reduced his hours of operation. We ordered him to lock the door nearest to their apartment windows and only use the other entranceway.
Nothing that the owner or Village did would be good enough for the Pfeifers. They were the only ones who lived by that restaurant who ever came to a trustee meeting to complain. They were not satisfied until the owner’s daughter came with her father and explained how his health was suffering and he, physically crying to us, begged us to let him operate his restaurant. He had to shut down because of his failing health and the mandated changes we made him comply with. Since the Village is totally transparent, you are all free to request transcripts of these meetings. So let the truth be known…we fulfilled our obligation to the residents of that area. For someone who complains about the empty stores, this family alone was successful in closing one of our restaurants.
The next untruth has to do with the space underneath the post office. Our residents in that area needed more parking and we saw the opportunity to try to provide them with it. All the trustees visited the unused garage under the building and saw how dangerous the space was for cars. Deputy Mayor Rosen reached out to a member of the Postal Service in Washington, D.C. and started negotiations with him. The most important factor was to be able to make the interior safe enough for our residents to park inside. The post office had a consultant look at it and said we would have to pay almost $500,000 for all the repairs. We hired our own consultant since we thought we needed to pursue it for our residents. We have NOT forsaken the project but dealing with Washington, D.C. is not an easy process. These negotiations are ongoing still and hopefully we can come to an amicable agreement and get our residents added parking.
Finally, I would like to correct the Great Neck News misprint. Michael DeLuccia knows who is running for office but the paper itself made the mistake with the wrong name. They were immediately notified and promised to issue a correction. If Mr. Pfeifer needs to check the correction, he can look on the bottom of Page 2 in the Sept. 4 issue.
Great Neck Plaza