Great Neck, NY is just one town east of Little Neck, NY (my area) but it may as well be hundreds of miles away, as the two towns are quite different in temperament — Great Neck is quite a bit wealthier, though it has more pockets of middle-class neighborhoods that you might think.
Some of the buildings arrayed along Station Plaza and Middle Neck Road are quite venerable, while others are a few decades younger though no less appealing. The photo depicts the monumental Grace Building at the juncture of those two routes, built in 1913 by Irish-born industrialist William Russell Grace, who has NYC connections.
Grace (1832-1904) was NYC mayor from 1880-1882 and from 1884-1886. He was NYC’s first Roman Catholic mayor, just a few decades after William Poole and his Know-Nothing Party were the scourge of Irish Catholics in NYC, and he was mayor when the Statue of Liberty was presented by France as a centennial gift for the founding of the nation. W.R Grace & Company remains one of the nation’s largest industrial powers and its high-rise headquarters on West 42nd Street and 6th Avenue is instantly recognizable with its curved facade.
Grace Avenue in Great Neck as well as Grace Avenue in the northeast Bronx bear his name.
Here in Great Neck, W.R. Grace & Co. commissioned this office building designed by architect James O’Connor, who also created other buildings in the Station Plaza area. It’s one of the largest Tudor-style buildings in the NYC region.