Letter: Let’s Stop The Blight In The Village

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By Sam Yellis

“Yeah, but why does it have to look like sh*t?” I’ve been hearing it, but I’ve been saying it, too. Sorry, but, not for nothing, why does it have to look like sh*t?

I understand that we are waiting on a “master plan” for the Village of Great Neck, one that will guide future development and shape life on the upper peninsula for the next half a century. But, do we need a consultant to tell us to replace or repair broken awnings and signs, scrape the peeling paint—you know, fix up the way the place looks­—almost as if you care.

“Dahling, you look maaavelous” was a theme of a decade or more—of a generation. If you look good, you feel good. If you look good, you are good.

The opposite is also true. Why do we have to have a blighted main street? I applaud the mayor for having been lenient with stores and landlords that have been in violation of village codes for months. He didn’t want to give tickets to people. I get it.

But enough is enough. Extension after extension has been given, time passes, the village deteriorates and we all see it getting more and more blighted.

Little by little, storefront by storefront, the main street of the Village of Great Neck has become run down. Perception is reality. The “feeling” that this has been happening has been turned into reality by the growing number of broken awnings and signs, planters with dead plants and boarded-up buildings.

This is unacceptable! This is Great Neck. I’m not talking ritzy high-end anythings here or important issues like long-term height limits or parking density or water-table depletion.

So, can we please just change the light bulbs that have gone out and fix the broken signs? These are no-brainers that will have an immediate positive effect on the streetscape and morale of the village.

In one week, the village can be unblighted.

I think we can all agree, no matter where we stand on other aspects of village life and planning, the place needs some sprucing up, and it really should have already been done. Whether you are a business or a landlord, you should have pride in your space. Care about how it looks and how its appearance affects the public streetscape we all live with. You have a public responsibility to maintain your space’s appearance and not add to the blight and sense of deterioration.

Oh, and while I have someone’s (anyone’s?) attention, why isn’t there a recycling bin for plastic by the north side of the Long Island Rail Road station?

When I walk around the station at Station Plaza North, Park Place and Bond Street, where am I supposed to throw out a plastic water bottle? I know I shouldn’t be adding to the plastic problem, but sometimes you just have a plastic bottle to throw away. Can we please get a blue garbage can with the round holes cut out of the top, please? That would be cool.

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