These beautiful 1.4 miles, fondly known as Great Neck, is the second-highest Iranian-populated city in the United States. According to Wikipedia, 21 percent of the Great Neck population reported Iranian ancestry in 2011. I thought it was more. I also thought Great Neck was bigger. It’s funny how numbers often seem to minimize the significance of things. That’s why I left finance.
If you are Persian and reading this, I guess you’re on my side. Certainly, I am on your side. No ethnic group can be perfect, but I am very proud of, and indebted to, my community and my roots.
If you’re not Persian, I guess you want to blame me for all the traffic on North Middle Neck Road. I, too, realize that at times it can be a hazard zone, with cars double parked, parked cars flinging their doors open, pedestrians crossing and cars speeding by in the left lane. I can’t, however, take all the blame. I confess, once when I went to Everfresh, I parked on the white line and, when I came out, there was a note on my car that read: “Really??” In my defense, though, it was a short Friday and there was a crazy sale on strawberries that required my urgent attention. Everyone must be allowed to err once.
There has to be a more perpetual explanation for the driving congestion in Great Neck. Perhaps we ought to investigate whether our streets might be much narrower than others. Certainly they are more winding, especially when I have a coffee in my hand. Maybe it’s just the size of the cars. Possibly, GMC and Cadillac are to blame for marketing the enormous vehicles that are gaining popularity in Great Neck.
In our attempt to find the true culprit in Great Neck’s transportation dilemma, let’s peek into population density. Density, or residents per square mile in Great Neck, was cited as 7,062 in 2010 (based on a total population of 9,989). Surely, we need new figures, but as an example, the New York State average density is 420. New Jersey is the most population-dense state in America with a population of 1,210 per square mile. So, it seems that the bottleneck might just be a simple case of overcrowding.
Conceivably, Wikipedia and I have just put to rest one of the great complaints against Persians in Great Neck. It cannot be our fault that Great Neck is so small and yet so marvelously appealing to live in. I think, after all, the guilt must be shared between Great Neck’s blue jays, red birds, weeping willows, flowering dogwood trees, Japanese maple trees, sound views and concerts in the park. I think we should all be grateful not to live in Manila, the capital of the Philippines, with the world’s highest population density of 111,002 residents per square mile. I personally hope to keep counting my blessings in this great city of Great Neck. Cheers and thanks for having me.
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Traffic has been an issue in Great Neck for as long as I can remember and I grew up on the peninsula in the 60’s and 70’s. In fact, once, I jokingly and rhetorically asked how many cars there were in Great Neck and then replied, “One. Mine”, as it appeared that many of the motorists in Great Neck have no concern for anybody but themselves. They feel free to double park, stop, turn, exit and enter, at will with no thought that they are interfering with other people’s efforts to get through their day. I don’t think that cultural origins have anything to do with the problem but more the feeling of entitlement.
My ex used to collect double parking tickets in her glove box because she saw no reason not to just stop in the roadway as she “just ran into the (cleaners, deli, drugstore, florist etc., pick one)”. Finally, she got a threatening letter from the State of New York regarding her registration suspension if these tickets weren’t addresssed. She went to the Great Neck Estates Court and had the book thrown at her (rightfully so) and paid over $700.00 to clear them up. She was not Iranian.
Enforcement works but as the budgets keep getting cut, the Police can’t even begin to be effective.
When I was in my 20’s, I decided that the road test for a driver’s license should be conducted in Great Neck, driving from the train station to Kennedy Elementary school at 5:30 in the afternoon because, if you can do that, you can do anything.
[…] “Chronicles of a Persian Mom,” traffic has been an issue in Great Neck for as long as I can remember, and I grew up on the […]