By Alice Kasten
Coming home from a recent trip to Italy, I have heard rumors about the Village of Great Neck’s plans to sell Village Hall and to turn the corner of Piccadilly and Middle Neck Road into apartments.
One of the highlights of traveling in Europe is viewing the antiquities—whether they be Roman ruins, buildings from the Victorian age or Deco designs. They are something to treasure.
Of course, Great Neck is not that old, but we still have a few remnants of our past that deserve to be preserved and cared for. The present Village Hall contains the bones of the original Baker farmhouse. As I am sure you are aware, Mills Baker was one of the prominent early farmers on the peninsula. And the “wedding cake building,” located at the corner of Piccadilly Road and Middle Neck Road, constructed in the 1930s as an Oldsmobile dealership and gas station, is unique in design and has become a landmark in Great Neck.
I urge you to protect both of these buildings. We have so little of our past left in Great Neck, as the homes of our notable former residents are torn down to make way for newer and grander structures or subdivided to allow for more housing.
These are buildings that should be landmarked, not destroyed. Do you know that Great Neck is one of the very few areas without a local historical museum? Either of those buildings would be a suitable home for such a museum. We should not be destroying our community’s past, but honoring it.
Alice Kasten is president of the Great Neck Historical Society.