There's Something About Great Neck A Neighborhood Profile

The nine villages and several unincorporated communities that make up the city of Great Neck are steeped in history.  F. Scott Fitzgerald chose Great Neck as the setting for his famous novel, The Great Gatsby, and even though the area has gone through many changes since Fitzgerald’s time, one trip to Great Neck makes it clear why the community is one of Long Island’s gems.

“There’s always been something about Great Neck,” says Carol Kopelman, a Great Neck resident and real estate agent for Coldwell Banker.  “It’s the quality of life,” she says. “One of the secrets of this area is how wonderful the community is.  There’s so much to do—we’ve got a senior citizens’ center, many temples and churches, adult education classes, art classes.  And people take advantage of all of it.”

Great Neck History

Occupying only 1.4 square miles on what is considered the Great Neck Peninsula of Long Island, Great Neck is the first suburb one encounters when entering Nassau County.  Due to its proximity to New York City, the Great Neck area has always been a hotspot of economic and real estate growth, especially over the past 60 years.  According to the 2000 Census report, the population of Great Neck is nearly 10,000.  That number shows just how much growth has occurred since the few Dutch and English settlers made the area their home in 1644.  

Founded as an agricultural community, farmland and orchards made up much of the landscape around Great Neck.  When older residents or history buffs refer to “the village,” they usually are referring to a specific section of the main drag, Middle Neck Road.  This road was the first center of commerce in the agricultural village and still serves that purpose today, though streets like Bond Street have grown to fit the demand for commerce as well.  

After the Civil War ended, Great Neck enjoyed the first of many development booms.  Schools, churches and the first post office were built and shortly thereafter, the real estate wave followed.  

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8 Comments

  • You err in stating that Wyngate was a condo-like apartment project. It was all detached single family homes
  • Great Article! As a fifteen year resident of Great Neck, this aricle reminded me of all the great reasons I moved here and put roots down here. It really is a top notch community in which to live.
  • We sold our home in Great Neck and moved to the Bay Terrace area of Bayside. I love coming to Great Neck and just walking down Middle Neck Road. It's almost like walking the streets of Manhattan. Great Neck and Bay Terrace are both wonderful neighborhoods to live in.
  • I have lived in gt.nk since 1/1956 I live in the wyngate aptsl. all this time, and sure enough (It is a grand community! Can anyone tell me what the (ice cream store on Middle Neck Rd.(made their own) Name please! Has been gone for maybe 45 to 50 years ago. thanks, Nancy Thanks, Nancy
  • I believe that it was Kreigels. Located on the east side if middle neck road. It was a great hangout for teens in the 40's and 50's. Then there was Stephens on the corner of Middle neck and Cedar Drive. It was the place to be in the mid 50's after going to the Playhouse or Squire Theaters.
  • Stephens (s/w corner MN Rd/Cedar Dr) had a big stainless steel ice cream making machine in the back & made all their own at least thru about 1970 (that I know of). At that time, near the cash register they also had a working cotton candy spinning machine. It was mostly a not very busy, but perfectly fine, luncheonette type place at that time.
  • I moved to Gun when I was 4 years old and moved to Calif, when I was almost 11. I will never forget GN. One of my fondest memories was when the cab owned by the Jones family use to bring us ice cream and the Sunday paper on Saturday night. There was a diner that served rice pudding with fruit cocktail delicious.
  • From the neighbors to the schools and the scenery, Great Neck is a place of absolute serenity and happiness.