Sitting on a peninsula which juts out into the Long Island Sound, Great Neck is on the North Shore of Long Island and has long been a popular getaway because of its peaceful tranquility and its proximity to Manhattan.
Originally called “Madnan’s Neck”, the area was settled by Dutch settlers in the 17th century as part of New Netherlands not long after settlement began at Plymouth Rock.
With the Industrial Revolution and the spread of railways in the 19th century, Great Necks became the head of the New York and Flushing Railroad,quickly transforming it from sleepy farming village to thriving commuter town.
In the 20th century the Village of Kings Point in Great Neck was the real life setting for F. Scott Fitzgerald’s novel The Great Gatsby. Fitzgerald lived in Great Neck in a home rather similar to the one his protagonist lived in. West Egg is said to be modeled after Kings Point while East Egg is modeled after its neighbor Sands Point.
It was during the roaring ’20s that Great Neck became the region it is today, transforming from remote suburbs of New York City into a Jewish haven with the help of big names in show business like the Marx Brothers and Sid Caesar.
After World War Two, Great Neck briefly served as the headquarters for the United Nations. From 1947 to 1952, while the current UN Complex was being constructed, the Sperry Corporation was used as headquarters due to its proximity to Manhattan. While the UN had its headquarters here, Eleanor Roosevelt served as its head.
Today the Great Neck region has much to offer. It’s a peaceful, seaside place to visit and relax while you browse art galleries, antique shops, or enjoy a picnic in Kings Point Park. It’s a place to go to relax for a little while and get away.
Great Neck is an easy distance from New York City, with trains running from Penn Station on the Long Island Rail Road daily.Tags: Feature