Great Neck community members take revitalization efforts to social media platforms

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Vision Long Island Director Eric Alexander spoke with Great Neck officials on how to revitalize the peninsula during an October 2019 meeting. (Photo by Robert Pelaez)

Community efforts to revitalize the business district of the Great Neck peninsula have sprouted in the form of social media platforms.

Janet Esagoff, the principal attorney and founder of Esagoff Law Group, sent an email to members of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce last week about the social media initiatives she and more than a dozen other community stakeholders began to revitalize the peninsula’s business district.

Esagoff said in an interview that the news of the Best Market in Great Neck Plaza being closed was one of the main reasons she wanted to start these efforts.

“That was kind of a wake-up call for me to head up all of these initiatives,” Esagoff said. “Our group of concerned residents is focused on the issue of how to improve the business district of Great Neck. We are exchanging solutions and hope to be a liaison with local governments to fill up vacant stores.”

Esagoff and her group created two social media platforms to help spread the message. The first is a private Facebook group exclusively for residents of the Great Neck peninsula called “Destination: Great Neck,” which had more than 300 members as of Tuesday. The other is an Instagram account called @GreatNeckBiz, a public account which has close to 300 followers and highlights businesses throughout the peninsula.

Esagoff, who is also a board member at large for the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, said plans including a safe, COVID-friendly karaoke night and retail hops to promote residents to shop locally have been pitched, and the group is still trying to make connections through its growing social media presence.

Esagoff said the group’s goal is to have one member attend every board meeting for the nine villages to get a broader sense of what people are looking for, and continue to promote local businesses.

“What we are trying to impress upon everyone is that this group is coming from a point of strength, we are not looking to change Great Neck fundamentally,” Esagoff said. “We want to improve upon it, and we want to let those outside of Great Neck know how proud we are of [the entire peninsula].”

Esagoff said she has noticed an occasional disconnect between village officials and residents regarding parking and ticketing. The group, she said, aspires to be a bridge to voice the issues facing residents so that their elected officials will  know what is a legitimate issue and what could just be a grievance from a few individuals.

“There is an impression that residents have an issue with parking throughout the business district, but then government officials will dispute that,” Esagoff said. “A shuttle bus could be a possibility. Governments and the chamber will start to hear residents’ voices through our social media efforts.”

Officials from the nine villages have not been completely oblivious to a recent downturn in new stores opening on Middle Neck Road, the gateway to all of the stores Great Neck has to offer.  Efforts to revitalize the peninsula in a way beneficial to all of the villages have been made in the past. In 2019, the Great Neck Village Officials Association began hosting meetings which featured elected officials, business owners, and guest speakers such as Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island.

“We are teaming up with the various communities and new group’s to bring as much to the table as possible to revitalize ‘ALL’ of Great Neck,” Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Dennis Grossman said in an email.

Grossman said he did not want to go into further specifics on the chamber’s involvement until it reconvened on March 3.

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