by Kevin Walsh

PERIODICALLY, I cross the border — completely undefended by barbed wire, rifle toting guads and dogs — from Little Neck into Nassau County. The reasons for this have been diverse over the years. I worked in Nassau, Port Washington to be specific, from 1992-99 and again from 2006-2011. These days, I am sometimes in need of leg stretching when working at home or lazing around the house, and I simply walk around the next neighborhood, Terrace Gardens. Sometimes, like today, I head to Rosa’s Pizza in Great Neck not for the pizza but for my favorite grilled chicken wrap. What’s their secret? They use salad dressing when preparing it.

Great Neck is far from unified. It’s made up of small townlets, villlages, or fiefdoms, whatever they call them. I have noticed that each has its own street lighting and signing scheme.

Russell Gardens features what aficionados call “king posts” because the spikes on the fixtures make them look like crowns. The poles are either faux wood, real wood, or a wood cover on a metal pole. I’m not sure if these posts have LED bulbs.

In Russell Gardens, the street signs are brown, again either wood or faux wood.

In both Little Neck and Great Neck can be found occasional surface streams, even though both areas are heavily urbanized with cultivated rural pockets. This one, in Creek Park, seems to be nameless; a similar one in Little Neck is called Gabler’s Creek.

In Great Neck Village proper, you find this arrangement, with “New Gumball” lamps attached to telephone pole masts; they never appear in this context in NYC, where they are found chiefly on short “Brownie” posts mainly employed under elevated trains; in NYC they are being grandfathered out. In Great Neck you occasionally see these without their big glass bowl reflectors. As in NYC they house Holophane bucket lamps showing bright yellow.

I do wish we had this style for park signs in NYC, which are fairly boring by comparison. Raised letters are placed on what is either a metal or wood tablet. The pole in the rear is Nassau County’s standard stoplight pole, here used to carry street signs.

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Andy September 16, 2021 - 1:46 pm

Great Neck consists of nine incorporated villages and various unincorporated areas governed by the Town of North Hempstead. The villages are Great Neck, Great Neck Plaza, Great Neck Estates, Kensington, Kings Point, Lake Success, Russell Gardens, Saddle Rock, and Thomaston. The result is a crazy quilt of neighborhoods, side-by-side, under different local governments. And that’s why the street lighting fixtures, street name signs, and other municipal furniture often changes abruptly from one block to the next. It’s an example of balkanized local government.

And adding to the confusion, some streets are under Nassau County jurisdiction. Northern Boulevard is a NY State road.

The most significant unifying force is the Great Neck School District, which stretches from the tip of Kings Point to Hillside Avenue. The US Postal Service is a close second, as its Great Neck office (with three branches) covers everything as far south as Northern State Parkway. The LIRR is the third unifying force, as its Great Neck station serves the entire peninsula as well.

There are also special purpose districts, such as the Great Neck Park District as pictured in the posting. That entity encompasses some, but not all of the villages on the peninsula.

Sergey Kadinsky September 16, 2021 - 10:15 pm

Ahem, the creek in Cutter Mill Park, I’ve documented its course and history.

Kevin Walsh September 16, 2021 - 10:55 pm



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