Great Neck, Nassau County, viewed from intersection of Elm Street and Middle Neck Road.
|Nickname(s): The Old Village|
U.S. Census Map
|Total||1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)|
|Land||1.4 sq mi (3.5 km2)|
|Water||0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2) 0%|
|Elevation||108 ft (33 m)|
|Density||7,062.3/sq mi (2,726.8/km2)|
|Time zone||Eastern (EST) (UTC-5)|
|Summer (DST)||EDT (UTC-4)|
|ZIP codes||11020 11027|
|GNIS feature ID||0951636|
Great Neck is a region on Long Island that covers a peninsula on the North Shore of Long Island, which includes the villages of Great Neck, Great Neck Estates, Great Neck Plaza, and others, as well as an area south of the peninsula near Lake Success and the border territory of Queens. The incorporated village of Great Neck had a population of 9,989 at the 2010 census, while the larger Great Neck area comprises a residential community of some 40,000 people in nine villages and hamlets in the town of North Hempstead, of which Great Neck is the northwestern quadrant. Great Neck has five postal zones (11020 11024) and one school district.
The hamlets are census-designated places that consolidate various unincorporated areas. They are statistical entities and are not recognized locally. However, there are locally recognized Harbor Hills, Saddle Rock Estates, University Gardens, and Manhasset neighborhoods within the hamlet areas. The Manhasset neighborhood (in zip code 11030) is not considered part of Great Neck. The part of the Hamlet of Manhasset that is considered part of Great Neck includes the Great Neck Manor neighborhood. Great Neck Gardens is featured on many maps as a name of one such hamlet, even as the name is used rarely if ever by local residents.
Great Neck is a 25- to 35-minute commute from Manhattan's Penn Station on the Port Washington Branch of the Long Island Rail Road via the Great Neck station, which is one of the most frequently served in the entire system; as a result, many LIRR trains terminate at the station to serve the large number of riders. Nassau Inter-County Express connects the villages to the train station and offers service to several destinations in Nassau County and Queens from the station, while the southern part of the Great Neck area can also directly access the Q46 New York City Bus on Union Turnpike at the border with Glen Oaks and the Q12 bus on Northern Boulevard at the border with Little Neck.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the village has a total area of 1.4 square miles (3.6 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 1.46%, is water.
As of the census of 2010, there were 9,989 people, 3,645 households, and 2,620 families residing in the village. The population density was 7,062.3 people per square mile (2,727.9/km2). There were 3,645 housing units at an average density of 2,547.9 per square mile (984.1/km2). The racial makeup of the village was 82.8% White, 2.0% African American, 0.20% Native American, 7.2% Asian, 0% Pacific Islander, 3.9% from other races, and 3.9% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 10.2% of the population. 
There were 3,346 households out of which 36.6% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 63.9% were married couples living together, 8.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 23.7% were non-families. 20.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.85 and the average family size was 3.30.
In the village the population was spread out with 26.4% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 25.3% from 25 to 44, 24.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 94.2 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.0 males.
The median income for a household in the village was $76,645, and the median income for a family was $89,733. Males had a median income of $52,445 versus $37,476 for females. The per capita income for the village was $38,790. About 5.5% of families and 7.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.5% of those under age 18 and 8.1% of those age 65 or over.
Westernmost portion of the Hamlet of Manhasset, that lies between the villages of Thomaston and Lake Success and has Great Neck postal codes (1102x).
Great Neck, originally called "Madnan's Neck", was settled by Europeans in the late 17th century, not long after settlers landed on Plymouth Rock. The area had previously been inhabited by the Mattinecock Native Americans.
In more recent days, Great Neck in particular the Village of Kings Point provided a backdrop to F. Scott Fitzgerald's book The Great Gatsby. It was thinly disguised as "West Egg," in counterpoint to Manor Haven/Sands Point, which was the inspiration for the more posh "East Egg" (the next peninsula over on Long Island Sound), Great Neck symbolized the decadence of the Roaring Twenties as it extended out from New York City to then-remote suburbs. The Great Gatsby's themes and characters reflected the real-world transformation that Great Neck was experiencing at the time, as show-business personalities like Sid Caesar and the Marx Brothers bought homes in the hamlet and eventually established it as a haven for Jews, formerly of Brooklyn and the Bronx.
The end of World War II saw a tremendous migration of Ashkenazi Jews from the cramped quarters to the burgeoning suburb. They founded many synagogues and community groups and pushed for stringent educational policies in the town's public schools. Jay Cantor's 2003 novel, Great Neck, portrays this era, with recently installed residents of all stripes trying to secure the brightest futures for their children.
During the 1960s, many residents frequented the local pool and ice-skating complex, Parkwood, which was extensively renovated in 2007 and 2008, after which its patronage dramatically increased following years of decline as homeowners built their own in-ground pools. (After the events of September 11, 2001, the ice-skating rink was renamed in honor of Andrew Stergiopoulos, a local resident who was killed in the attack).
Things have changed in Great Neck since the Baby Boomer era. In the 1980s, an influx of affluent Iranian Jews who left their country following the 1979 Islamic Revolution settled in Great Neck. Though the majority of their children attended Great Neck schools, they did not integrate into the existing Ashkenazi synagogues, instead starting their own Iranian synagogues, where they could follow Mizrahi traditions. The Persian community also established its own grocery shops.
From the late 1990s, the Great Neck peninsula has been home to another Jewish shift. During this time, more observant, Orthodox Jews have moved to the area. This is a similar trend to what has happened in the Five Towns area on the South Shore of Long Island, although Reform and Conservative Jews appear to remain predominant in Great Neck.
On Old Mill Road, three synagogues represent the three main branches of American Judaism: Temple Beth-El (Reform), Great Neck Synagogue (Orthodox), and Temple Israel of Great Neck (Conservative). Old Mill Road also has an honorific extra naming, "Waxman Way," in memory of Temple Israel's renowned rabbi, Mordechai Waxman, who led the congregation for 50 years.
Also beginning in the late 1990s and continuing till present day, a number of East Asians, predominantly Chinese and Korean, have been moving into the area. Many of these families move to Great Neck for a better environment for their children as well as the well-known public school education. Great Neck's proximity to ethnic enclaves such as Flushing and Bayside make it ideal for East Asians.
The general trend is that the northern part of Great Neck (north of the LIRR tracks) has a greater number of Iranian families, while the southern part (south of the LIRR tracks) has a larger East Asian population. The African-American population is low in all of Great Neck.
Churches include St. Aloysius Roman Catholic Church, All Saints Episcopal Church, St. Paul Episcopal Church, Korean United Methodist Church, Peace Presbyterian Church, First Baptist Church, St. Paul A.M.E. Zion Church and Community Church of Great Neck, as well as the non-denominational chapel at the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy. A LDS Church is located just over the border in Little Neck, near two additional synagogues.
The Parkwood pool and skating rink complex, the Village Green and sections of Kings Point Park are managed by the Great Neck Park District. The park district serves all of Great Neck except the villages of Saddle Rock, Great Neck Estates, and Lake Success, and the neighborhoods (not hamlets) of Harbor Hills and University Gardens. The areas not served by the Great Neck Park District each have their own facilities for their residents, run by the villages or civic associations. Parkwood can also provide tennis lessons and skating lessons. During the summer it is a part of the Great Neck day camp program, where young campers use the swimming pool facilities.
|This section does not cite any references or sources. (June 2013)|
Before the Dutch and English settlers arrived on the peninsula of Great Neck in the 17th century, the Mattinecock Native Americans originally inhabited the shorelines of the peninsula. It was not until 1681 when the European settlers held the first town meeting. The Mattinecock or Metoac used Long Island Sound as a way to both fish and trade with others. The Mattinecock mostly caught clams, oysters, crabs, bass, sturgeon, and other fish. On land, they grew wheat, rye, rutabaga, oats, hay, flax, corn, cabbage, and buckwheat. They would also hunt whatever game they came across.
The Mattinecock Indians were a branch of the Algonquin tribe and spoke the Algonquin language. They also had their own chief, and surrounding Native American tribes considered the peninsula of Great Neck as that of the Mattinecock. Neighboring tribes almost never crossed territorial boundaries, or fish and hunt on land not considered that of their tribe. The Mattinecock would use gigantic canoes up to 80 feet long carved from tree trunks to fish and travel on Long Island Sound. They would also make totems for worship out of skillfully carved logs. Religion was extremely important to the Mattinecock, and was a prevalent fixture of their culture.
The Mattinecock built their homes out of lumber, tree bark, and reeds to help form the sides and roof. These dwellings were long with low ceilings and had a fire pit in the middle of the home. The smoke would escape through a hole in the roof that was about half a foot wide. Several Mattinecock families would often live together in the same house. The natives would keep maize and beans in small baskets, store food in earthen pots, and drink water using wooden dippers. When not hunting, fishing, or farming, the Mattinecock would spend a lot of their time playing ball, games that helped improve their warrior skills with a bow and arrow, as well as gambling. Once the European settlers moved into the peninsula, the Mattinecock would often trade for alcohol.
Just like the current residents of present day Great Neck, the Mattinecock Indians would also celebrate their special occasions. Parties would be thrown at harvest time as well as holding baby-naming ceremonies that included shouting the baby's name three times, singing, dancing, eating, and many gifts for the newborn. Male Mattinecock natives that reached adolescence would celebrate their rite of passage by going on a hunting expedition in the woods by themselves for a few days. On the other hand, Mattinecock women that reached adolescence would celebrate their coming-of-age by cutting off their hair and then staying inside of a specially chosen wigwam for several days inside of the village.
Mattinecock weddings were also considered a very special occasion in early Great Neck. Fathers trying to marry off their sons would try to make a good impression on their potential in-laws by showering them with gifts. These gifts for the most part were animal pelts, furs, or live animals themselves. When two young Mattinecock natives were to be married, the bride's family would accept the gifts from the groom's family. Marriage was considered a sacred bond by the Mattinecock tribe, and divorce was extremely uncommon. It is still unknown by historians which family ended up paying for the wedding.
The Mattinecock Native Americans referred to present day Great Neck as Menhaden-Ock. It is speculated that they chose this name because of the large amount of fish in the area. With the arrival of the European settlers on the peninsula in the 1640s, Menhaden-Ock evolved into Madnan's Neck. By 1670, Madnan's Neck had further evolved into the current name Great Neck. Local legend has it that the name "Madnan's Neck" is named after Anne (or Nan) Hutchinson. It is said that Anne Hutchinson tried to take over what is considered present day Kings Point upon her arrival to the peninsula. However, Anne Hutchinson could not actually procure a land grant or deed for the land that she desired. Her temper earned her the nickname Mad Nan, and from there comes the name. However this version of the story is merely a fable.
On November 18, 1643, the Hempstead Plains, which included the peninsula of Great Neck, was sold to the Reverend Robert Fordham and John Carman. In the beginning, the Mattinecock Indians and the European settlers cooperated and coexisted very well together. The Mattinecock would teach the settlers their knowledge of the land in exchange for new technology from the settlers. The settlers even started using the Indian currency of wampum. However, this peaceful coexistence would not last forever, and the relationship between the Mattinecock and the settlers quickly began to deteriorate. Settlers often began complaining of unfriendly Mattinecock behavior, claiming that the natives would damage their homes and hurt their cattle. On November 18, 1659, the settlers passed a law that forced the natives to pay damages for white property that they had damaged.
The problem between the settlers and the Mattinecock natives over land and property kept growing and finally came to a head in 1684. A commission of settlers had been elected and given the power to appease the Mattinecock and their leader Tackapousha. Tackapousha was eventually paid off, and received 120 pounds sterling for his land. Tackapousha eventually died, and his body still rests at the Lakeville AME Zion Church's cemetery on Community Drive, across the street from North Shore University Hospital. The Lakeville AME Zion Church is one of the oldest churches in New York State.
The very first European to look upon the Long Island peninsula of Great Neck was Captain Adrian Block of the Great Dutch West India Company in 1614. This occurred just four years after Henry Hudson had made his voyage west. Block and his men were stranded on the southern tip of Manhattan Island, because their ship the Tiger sank shortly after its landing. The captain and his men then built a ship called the Onrust out of timber and salvaged parts from the Tiger. When the sailors set sail again, they sailed around Long Island, mapping it as they passed.
The Reverend Robert Fordham and John Carman first came to Great Neck from New Haven by use of Long Island sound. During this trip, the deal with Chief Tackapousha was reached. One year later, on November 16 William Kieft granted a special land patent for the territory, and permission for the community's incorporation. William Kieft was the director general of New Netherland, and the patent that he granted gave the people of the peninsula the right to religious self-determination. The new community's political independence was so great that only town officials who were in any way elected by the Dutch government or its magistrates, first nominated by a town meeting.
The Dutch controlled Long Island, from 1642 to 1664. Under Dutch rule, constables, local officers, nominated magistrates, and overseers were elected by town meetings and passed legislation. On December 21, 1656, Peter Stuyvesant, who was the director general of New Netherland after William Kieft, appointed the first two magistrates of Hempstead. These two men were John Seaman and Richard Guildersleeve. The local government of Madnan's Neck at the time was extremely active in passing new laws. A liquor tax was imposed, and half of that tax paid for the town's supply of ammunition, with the other half going to education. A religious code of ethics was also published by the local government, which included conduct on holidays for the entire town. There were also punishments for poor conduct, which included fines, corporal punishment, and banishment. The first reported instance of sexual misconduct in the peninsula's history was recorded on October 3, 1659 against Henry Linnington. After the threat of being banished, Linnington was ultimately allowed to stay, on the condition that he reformed his behavior.
Around this time, the boundaries of Madnan's Neck and Hempstead grew increasingly apart. As the population of Madnan's Neck grew, independence from Hempstead became increasingly realistic. In 1672, Robert Jackson, a well-known man in the community of Madnan's Neck, beat out Simon Seryon in the election for constable of Hempstead by a count of 39 to 31. However, Seryon was still declared the victor, due to governmental corruption and back door bribery. Incensed by the fixed election and obviously staged result, residents of Madnan's Neck petitioned the governor for separation, but their request was denied.
Finally, on June 9, 1687, the order went out from the government of the New Netherland that Madnan's Neck be "separate, hereafter from Hempstead". The town was then given its own marshal, and its own constable. The first constable of Madnan's Neck was a man named Edward Hare, who helped aid in the movement for Madnan's Neck's independence. Over time Madnan's Neck grew increasingly politically independent over time. Throughout the next few years, Madnan's Neck depended even less on Hempstead. Few communities of Madnan's Neck's size had their own highway, grist mill, minister, constable, and marshal, yet Madnan's Neck, emerged from Hempstead as a fully functioning town.
During the construction of the current United Nations Complex from 1947 through 1952, the United Nations was temporarily headquartered at the Sperry Corporation facility in the Great Neck community of Lake Success due to its proximity to Manhattan. Eleanor Roosevelt headed the UN Commission on Human Rights at this location.
The Village of Great Neck is protected by the Nassau County Police Department's Sixth Precinct, as is the rest of Great Neck except for the villages of Great Neck Estates, Kings Point, Kensington and Lake Success. Those villages have their own police departments, which are reinforced by the NCPD during any criminal activity, event, or other incident that falls outside the realm of "routine."
Great Neck is served by three all-volunteer fire departments. The Great Neck Alert Fire Company was founded in 1901. The Great Neck Vigilant Fire Company was founded in 1904. Company 3 of the Manhasset-Lakeville Fire Department was founded in 1912, and Company 4 of the M-LFD was founded in 1926. Alert covers the northern part of the peninsula, including the Village of Great Neck, providing fire and heavy rescue response. Vigilant serves the middle portion of Great Neck with fire and heavy rescue response. The Vigilant Fire Company also provides emergency ambulance services to both its own territory and Alert's, due to the fact that Alert does not operate an ambulance. M-LFD Co. 3 and 4 serve the southern part of Great Neck, including the villages of Thomaston and Lake Success. These two companies offer fire and rescue services. The M-LFD Ambulance Unit operates two ambulances out of Co. 3's firehouse. In addition, the Nassau County Police Emergency Ambulance Bureau also provides EMS service to the Manhasset-Lakeville fire district.
Currently, Great Neck, connected to New York City by the Long Island Rail Road, serves primarily as a "bedroom" community for New York City. As such, it contains few "touristy" attractions. Notable exceptions include:
F. Scott Fitzgerald lived in Great Neck in the 1920s, at 6 Gateway Drive in Great Neck Estates. He lived here in a modest house not dissimilar to that of Nick, the protagonist of his novel, The Great Gatsby. It is said that Fitzgerald modeled West Egg the fictional town in which Nick lives after his own Great Neck (specifically Kings Point) and the atmosphere and lifestyle there; and he modeled East Egg after Great Neck's eastern neighbor, Port Washington, or, more specifically, Sands Point. It is possible to see the actual green light referred to in the book, at Stepping Stone Park. The park is located at the top of the Great Neck Peninsula.
Great Neck Library is the public library system serving the community of Great Neck. There are four branches, located throughout the Great Neck peninsula: Main, Station, Parkville, and Lakeville.
The Great Neck Union Free School District is the school district of most of Great Neck. It also includes parts of unincorporated New Hyde Park and Manhasset Hills. A small part of eastern Great Neck around Northern Boulevard is part of the Manhasset Union Free School District, whose students attend Manhasset High School.
About 6,200 students, grades K-12, attend the Great Neck Public Schools. There are three high schools: North, South, and Village (a small alternative high school). There is a districtwide, alternative high school program, SEAL Academy (Supportive Environment for All Learners). There are also two middle schools and four elementary schools. Students have diverse backgrounds; they come from more than 40 countries and represent a broad socioeconomic range.
Great Neck's two major high schools are rated among the top in the country. Its students have been frequent finalists in the Intel Science Talent Search, and Great Neck has produced several Intel STS winners since 1999. In addition, the district has produced several high school winners of the international First Step to the Nobel Prize in Physics, awarded in Poland. In the 2008 Newsweek magazine's annual list of the top 1,300 American high schools, Great Neck South is ranked 49th, and Great Neck North is ranked 68th.
Private schools in the region include North Shore Hebrew Academy.
At one time the Japanese Weekend School of New York ( ) conducted lessons in Great Neck.