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Two Apartment Fires

indexOn Saturday, May 9, at 6:49 p.m., Manhasset-Lakeville F.D. Companies 3, 4, 5 and the ambulance unit were dispatched to 40 Schenck Ave. for a reported apartment fire. Multiple M-LFD chiefs responded to the alarm and were advised that NCPD units were confirming a fire in an apartment on the first floor. EMS Fly Car 8799 arrived on scene in one minute and Ambulance Unit Captain Lee Genser reported “smoke showing” and that NCPD units were evacuating the building.

Tower Ladder 8744 was the first piece of apparatus on scene. The officer of TL8744, Captain Stepanek, located a fire in an apartment on the first floor and requested a hose line while his inside team used its water to hold the fire back. After hearing the captain’s report, Chief of Department Garrigan transmitted a “Signal 10” for a working fire in an apartment building. A  hose line was stretched by the crew of Engine 8735 to the apartment and was used to extinguish the fire. A second hose line was stretched by the crew of Engine 8740 but was not used.  All units were released from the scene within an hour.

On May 14, at 11:35 a.m., M-LFD Companies 3, 4, 5 and the ambulance Unit responded to 171 South Middle Neck Rd. for a reported apartment fire. Engine 8740 was the first piece of apparatus to arrive on scene, and confirmed a working fire in a kitchen of an apartment and stretched a hose line to extinguish the fire.

Dance At The Arts Center

GCACDance_052015ALove the arts? Love to dance? Come to the Gold Coast Arts Center and choose the dance courses for you. The Gold Coast Arts Center boasts an impressive list of dance instructors, someone and something for everyone. Just take your pick. Call the Gold Coast Arts Center at 516-829-2570. The GCAC is located at 113 Middle Neck Rd., in Great Neck Plaza. Entrance is via the municipal parking lot in the rear of the building.

Marissa Adams is a dual certified New York State dance and drama educator. She studied Dance Education at Hofstra University for her undergraduate studies and Theatre Education at New York University Steinhardt School of Education for her master’s degree. She works with special needs students in the performing arts and she has created many children’s plays. Adams is committed to bringing the performing arts to children.

Evelyn Balassanian began dancing at age eight. By age 12 she was training in Russia and at 14 she was performing as a soloist with major European dancers, teachers and choreographers, including George Balanchine. For 15 years she taught and choreographed ballet at the Long Island School of Dance and Berest School of Dance. She continues to teach and dance with the American Theatre and the Eglevsky Ballet.

Megan Clancy, who began dancing and performing at age three, comes from a professional performing family. She attended the Professional Performing Arts High School in Manhattan and studied dance and theatre arts at City College of New York. She studied musical theatre, dance and vocal studies at the Professional Performing Arts School, as well as voice and dance at other prestigious schools. Clancy has worked with The Harlem Repertory Theatre and has taught dance at the 92nd Street Y. In addition to bringing joy and confidence to her dance students at GNAC’s School for the Arts, she is also a teaching artist working with its Out Reach/Art Reach program, teaching musical theatre.

Nicole Piacenza is a dancer, choreographer, teacher and singer who graduated from Long Island University with a BFA in dance and a minor in theater. She is working on her master’s, MAT program at Queens College. Piacenza performs regularly with Dance Visions, a modern and contemporary ballet company. She has danced solo and in ensembles with Georgette & Co.; Moves and Motions; the Long Island Fringe Festival; and with Isadora Duncan and the American Jewish Experience. As a singer she has performed in A Grand Piano and 5 Woman & Song.

Jennifer Stathes has been dancing since the age of three and hasn’t stopped since. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Queens College in dance with a minor in business and holds a master’s degree in elementary education. She is a full-time teacher for the NYC DOE. She was a member of her high school and college dance teams. Stathes was captain of a rhythmics team in high school as well. She has taught jazz, tap, ballet and hip hop to children ages two to adult. In addition to dancing Jennifer also teaches Zumba fitness to children and adults.

Lancelot Theobald Jr. is a former professional football player with the Italian Football League and has has performed on Broadway with Indigo dancers and at the Metropolitan Opera, Sampson et Delilah. Lance’s choreography has been seen at Madison Square Garden, Radio City Music Hall, CBS, NBC, Mary Tyler Moore’s walkathon for diabetes research and more. He has choreographed for the New York Knicks City Dancers and choreographed and assistant directed the promotional tour and video for the hip hop artist REYN and Motown’s R&B artist Lateaf’s music video.

Elizabeth Wehrman is a dance educator working for the NYC Department of Education. She teaches dance to grades pre-K to fifth at The Waterside Children’s Studio School P.S. 317Q in Queens. She also has experience teaching elementary school dance to grades pre-K to fifth in the Bronx. Wehrman graduated from Hofstra University in January 2013, receiving a B.S. in Education-Dance Education and received her NYS Initial Teaching Certification for K-12 Dance in February 2013. She is the founder and past president of the University Club and Student Chapter of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), T’DAA (Teaching Dance As Art) on her campus. Wehrman has performed in four faculty concerts at Hofstra, working with five different choreographers. She has also performed with the Gotham City Cheer, in flash mobs with NYC Dance Arts and at the 92nd Street Y. She is currently continuing her education by both taking dance classes in New York City along with attending Graduate School at Adelphi University for Physical Education.

Samantha Wit is a hula hoop artist, a dancer and has a duo lyra act with The Hoopla Girls. She earned a BFA in dance with a concentration in Jazz Performance from The University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She started off as a dancer and then fell in love with the world of circus when she toured nationally and internationally with Cirque Le Masque. She has also toured with Cirque Legacy and has worked with companies such as Cirque du Jour, The Bindlestiff Cirkus, Skyz The Limit and Phoenix Entertainment. Witt has also performed at Atlantic City’s Trump Taj Mahal, Trump Plaza, as well as at corporate and special events. She has also been seen hooping on The Dr. Oz Show, The YouTube Music Awards with M.I.A and M.I.A’s live performance at Terminal 5 NYC. She also loves to teach; she has taught dance and circus style hula hooping across the tri-state area and loves to share her love of dance and circus with others.

Library Says Ethan Mann Resigned


The audience waits for a response from the Library Board

Note: This story was written before the Library released a  statement on May 21. It has been slightly revised.The full text of the May 21 press release is at the end of this story. [Read more…]

Deena Lesser Retires From Town

deena (1)Longtime Great Neck resident Deena Lesser was honored at a reception and a presentation at North Hempstead Town Hall [Read more…]

Lighthouse Needs Big Donations


The Great Neck Historical Society’s Bob Lincoln (left) and its President, Alice Kasten, admire Kennedy School student projects about the Stepping Stones Lighthouse

Frustrated by the difficulty in attracting major donations in its quest to save and restore the Stepping Stones Lighthouse, the Great Neck Historical Society’s Lighthouse Restoration Committee met last week to discuss its next steps.

“We need a business plan,” chairman Bob Lincoln told the committee members.

“Once we have some sort of plan of action, with specific targets, then we can go out and say…‘Here’s what’s happening this year and here’s what we’re looking to do next year,’” he explained. “Our immediate action right now is to put that package together so we can invite people (to donate) who have serious money, but we have to have that serious package to sell.”

“We need a list of targets,” he added. “It will give us targets to raise money for each one of those tasks.”

Lincoln, who is also a Great Neck Park District commissioner, was instrumental in having the district repair a hole in the lighthouse roof last fall.

He used the need to place a dock by the structure to provide easy access as an example.

“We have to stop talking about ‘we need a dock’ and start talking about what it’s going to be and where it’s going be,” he said. “I’m not an engineer. What do you have to do first? You’ve got to make the building weather tight and make sure the foundation is solid.”

The Town of North Hempstead, which has stewardship of the lighthouse, has selected a contractor to replace a door on the structure. The town is paying $4,000 for the heavy door that leads to where the lantern is housed and it’s scheduled to be done next week. The Coast Guard suggested the repair.

North Hempstead has actually allocated $20,000 in its budget
this year for the lighthouse. “It’s $20,000 for 2015,” Lincoln explained. “We need to push and lobby for
more for 2016.”

In the fall, the town estimated that it would cost $4 million to completely restore the lighthouse.

The committee’s current bank balance is just over $15,000. Funds have been raised through the sale of promotional items and private donations. The committee will be at the City Island Arts and Crafts Fair on June 6 and June 7 and at Port Washington’s Harborfest on the June 7 to continue its promotional efforts.

Also at the meeting was Town Grants Coordinator Tom Devaney, whose recent application for a lighthouse grant ($165,000) from the National Park Service was unsuccessful. Only 12 of the 66 nationwide applicants in the highly competitive process were funded.

Devaney said that not only would he continue to search for grant money but that he would again apply for the Park Service’s National Maritime Heritage Program funding.

While continuing the meeting’s focus on the need for formulating a construction plan and securing large donations, Lincoln included a salute to the students and staff at the Kennedy School.

Referring to his attendance at a Kennedy assembly held the night before, Lincoln said, “We were presented with a check from the students for $800. That’s from the kids in kindergarten through fifth grade who were bringing in their pennies, dimes and quarters, and they tell me they have more.

Several committee members
made suggestions for possible funding sources, both private and public. One suggestion was to contact a well-known Long Island Sound advocate, entertainer Billy Joel,
for help.

Another suggestion was to seek the assistance of Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Steve Israel, who have previously been able to secure funds for the preservation and protection of Long Island Sound.

Stepping Stones Lighthouse was built in 1876 to warn mariners of shoal and extensive rocks that extend into Long Island Sound northward from Kings Point.

Contributions can be made and more information obtained by going to

School, Library Budgets Pass Easily

School Budget – Yes, 839; No, 179

Library  – Yes, 715; No, 251


Establishment of a Capital Reserve Fund for the schools: Yes, 807; No, 165

Donald Ashkenase and Barbara Berkowitz Reelected as Board of Education Trustees
Donald Ashkenase — 773
Barbara Berkowitz — 807 



Small Step for Playhouse Project


The way it was: This photo, from a posting on Facebook on the Great Neck Childhood: 60’s & 70’s page, shows the Playhouse the way it looked in 1976 when the Squire Theater wasn’t the only movie theater in Great Neck

Despite another delayed public hearing, the process of restoring the decaying First Playhouse on Middle Neck Road as a multifamily residence, a process that has lasted well over 10 years, seems to be inching forward.

The request by the applicant, First Playhouse of Great Neck Corporation, for a continuation to the June 8 meeting, was granted by Mayor David Fox and the Great Neck Estates Board of Trustees at the beginning of last week’s meeting.

This latest postponement is apparently due to the recent receipt of a letter from Great Neck Plaza officials listing their concerns and conditions about the project since the building sits near the border of the Plaza on Maple Drive. The delay will give all parties more time to consider the Plaza’s requests and comments.

But the receipt of the letter will help move things along as the two villages have been working together on their mutual concerns.

“The goal of the villages cooperating together is that we have similar interests in ensuring the public’s safety, as we share responsibilities along Middle Neck Road in our respective jurisdictions,” said Plaza Mayor Jean Celender.

“We appreciate that Mayor Fox and the board of trustees of Great Neck Estates [have] shared with us the plans and reports for this project and encouraged our input and comments in the development process,” she added. “We are anxious to see a vacant, deteriorating building reconstructed as a viable, vibrant mixed-use project at the north gateway to our village.

At its own board of trustees meeting earlier in the month, Celender addressed her village’s frustrations about the project and the fact that many casual observers mistakenly believe that the long vacant building is actually in the Plaza.

“It looks like it’s in our village, but it’s not,” she said at the meeting, prior to sending the letter of concerns and conditions. “They’ve been working on it for over 10 years, seven years with this most recent application.”

“I think we need to encourage them to move on with it and get it done,” she added. “It’s aesthetically very unappealing.”

Construction activity and heavy vehicle access on Maple Drive and at the point where it intersects with Middle Neck Road, streets where both villages share responsibilities, has been a constant topic of discussion and worry among officials.

“Maintaining public safety at all times is a high priority,” explained Celender. “Thus, we are looking to minimize congestion and the disruption to the community during construction, which we believe can be made possible by developing a joint set of conditions on any approval so that those objectives are achieved.”

The Plaza is also offering to sell a number of parking permits, specifically in the Maple Street garage, less than a block away, to the developer for workers who will be driving to the site. This will ease the already over burdened metered parking situation in both villages where meter abuse has been a long-standing problem.

Added Celender, “When it comes to issuing permits in our garages, the first priority is given to Great Neck Plaza taxpayers, but we also recognize that stores located in Great Neck Estates along Middle Neck Road are also part of our downtown district.”

“To the extent we have available parking spaces and commercial permits to sell in the garages, the goal of getting these business owners and their employees to park in the designated long-term parking spaces in the garages is similar to Great
Neck Plaza stores, and is a goal for the entire commercial district.”

Village Election Is Contested

villageWEBWhile there are no contests in the coming June 16 elections in Kings Point or Lake Success, [Read more…]

Memorial Day Parade in Great Neck

Parade_051315AMelvin A. Goldberg, a World War II veteran of the United States Army Air Corps and a member of the Great Neck Veterans Group, has been chosen by the Great Neck Memorial Day Parade Committee to be the grand marshal of this year’s parade, the 91st such annual parade.

The parade and ceremony will be held on Memorial Day, Monday, May 25. The parade will be led by the United States Merchant Marine Academy Color Guards and Band and the Plebe Class of 2015. It will step off at 9:30 a.m., sharp, at Middle Neck Road and Susquehanna Avenue, proceeding north on Middle Neck Road to the Village Green in the Old Village. A memorial observance for those who have sacrificed their lives for our country will be held at the Green at parade finish. The veterans groups and Great Neck fire departments will then march to All Saints Church for a final salute. Two local Boy Scout troops have placed American flags on the graves.

Mel Greenberg is a longtime resident of Great Neck. He is a retired executive from the field of communications and, for many years, was the associate producer of the Veterans Series of Public Access TV.

Goldberg served his country with distinction from 1942 to 1945, received his navigator wings and commission as a second lieutenant in the United States Army Air Corps and flew 34 missions over Europe from Halesworth, England. He received four Battle Stars, the U.S. Air Medal with three clusters and the Distinguished Flying Cross. Goldberg is a retired captain in the U.S. Army Reserves.

The Great Neck Veterans Group has been meeting at 2 p.m. on the second Friday of the month for the past eight years at the Great Neck Social Center, 80 Grace Ave. in Great Neck. New members are always welcome. For further information, contact Mel Sachs, leader and coordinator of the group, at 516-487-0025.

Bears Hockey Awards

HockeyAwards_051315B (1)The Bears Hockey program celebrated the end of a great season at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink [Read more…]