Welcome 2023! I hope you and your families had a blessed Holiday season. I wish you all a happy, healthy and safe New Year. Let’s hope this mild and snow free winter continues right into spring. The Village is moving forward with all our infrastructure projects. In addition, 2023 promises to be memorable with all the events we have planned.
Our Fall events were both special and festive thanks to our great cultural commission. The 2nd annual Halloween parade was well attended and lots of fun. There were great costumes and lots of delicious candy. The weather was spectacular and everyone had a great time. Our 2nd annual Diwali celebration was a wonderful night of fun, treats and entertainment. Many thanks to the children who shared the history, meaning and traditions of the Festival of Lights. Veterans Day was another special day in our Village. Even though everyday should be a time to honor the true heroes that have served our great Country, November 11th at 11am is always an exceptional day and time in our community. Our annual tree lighting proved to be an amazing time and a must see. Connor Tso was our special guest to light the Village tree. It was great to see him and his wonderful family share this time with us. Despite the mild temperature, Santa arrived on time and brought his cast of characters with him led by an escort from our outstanding New Hyde Park Fire Department. Santa has some great connections because he was able to make it snow in 50 degree temperatures. He is truly one of a kind. I would like to thank the New Hyde Park Fire Department for playing such a big role in all these events. Their presence makes every celebration even more special. Special thanks to Reid Sakowich, a great friend to me and the entire Village. His hard work and dedication to decorating Village Hall for the holidays is amazing. Reid’s efforts resulted in another spectacular display for all to enjoy. He is already working on the next tree lighting!
March 11th will be our 2nd annual St. Patrick’s Day parade. We will be honoring all first responders. It is an honor they rightfully deserve. We are delighted that this year’s Grand Marshal is Mike McBride. He is the owner of the New Hyde Park Funeral Home. Mike is a tremendous member of our community. He is a former member of NYPD. The McBride family has also established the Katie McBride Foundation. This organization, in honor of the beautiful Katie McBride, has touched so many lives and is a fitting tribute to her life.
Mike is a generous supporter of all things New Hyde Park. He is close to so many members of our Village, Fire Department and a friend to all. We are so proud to have him as the Grand Marshal. He personifies everything this special day is meant to be. Mike has also guaranteed us the weather will be sunny and 50 degrees!
I am delighted to update everyone on the progress of our infrastructure projects. As I noted at the tree lighting, we would all be celebrating in the existing Marcus Christ Hall for the last time. Subsequent to the tree lighting, all asbestos was removed from the building. Through the incredible generosity of former Village resident, Cyril Kearney, and his company, Marcus Christ Hall was taken down over the course of two days in early January. This was accomplished in an efficient and excellent manner. Many thanks to Cyril for making this happen as a gift to our Village. Plans are being fine-tuned for our new community center. Our County grant has been approved. The State grants are in the final stages of approval. We are on our way to having a new, updated facility that will be a gathering place for all of us to enjoy many celebrations!
The Village Hall restoration continues on a daily basis. Our new Assembly Hall is being utilized by all of our boards and committees. It is the perfect combination of a newly updated hall that pays appropriate tribute to our rich history. This theme is evident throughout Village Hall. You can see original tin ceilings and archways that are illuminated with the most energy efficient LED lights. As we embrace the historical nature of the building, we are simultaneously upgrading the infrastructure. There is new lighting and wiring throughout the building. A new HVAC system has been installed along with new ceiling tiles and flooring. The old, dark wood wainscoting has been removed and updated with new paint colors. In February, all the windows on the first floor and basement will be replaced. We have cut some of the cost by removing some windows altogether. The second floor windows will be replaced in due time. The stairways have new tile and paint. A new boiler has been installed and there are plans to add a new generator. With the demolition of Marcus Christ Hall, there is need for more meeting space. The Board has decided to move our room upstairs. The existing board room will become a community room and senior meeting room. The Board is moving to the second floor into the current Museum and Little League storage room. The Museum will be moved to the basement to enable more accessibility. The updated Clerks office and Building department are open for business. This project was overseen by the head of our Building Department, Binu Pillay. He did a great job. The new handicap ramp is done. A new front door will be installed. On the outside, there is an acute need to deal with the rotting wood all around the top of the building. The building also needs to have the bricks repointed and a complete paint job. This will take place in the coming year.
Memorial Park is on schedule to install the new playground during the Spring. This overdue upgrade of the playground will be expanded in terms of added space and include children of all abilities. We will include a dedicated area for our seniors adjacent to the playground. New fencing is under discussion as well. The current fencing was installed 25 years ago and needs to be upgraded and replaced. The office, storage area and bathrooms need to be addressed. A meeting with the Bocce ball club will take place regarding their request for a second court. The pickleball courts will have their lines repainted. We are looking to add sprinklers for the outfields to prevent the dust bowl from last Summer. I have spoken to the Little League about an upgrade to the scoreboard so it will work for all games. We are also looking to update our electrical capability and add wifi to the park. The six member committee will be meeting to discuss this year’s guest policy guidelines. We will also be announcing the procedure for obtaining 2023 park IDs. For the residents who obtained cards last year, you will simply have to produce a current utility bill. We have most photos saved. As a result, many of you will have no need to come and wait at Village Hall.
We can notify you when your 2023 cards are ready to be picked up. If you need to obtain your first park ID card or wish to add a new dog to your existing information, you will need to come to Village Hall at a date to be announced to get your picture taken for the card. We thank you in advance for your patience and cooperation.
The Department of Public works facility continues to be a work in progress. We are actively looking at every possible solution to address this situation. We are committed to making it happen within a fiscally responsible budget. The makeover of Nuzzi Field is intertwined in the developments of DPW. We will continue to update our residents.
The Miller Brothers property is in the process of developing plans. The original plans called for the same mixed use plans we have seen for many decades on the Jericho Turnpike corridor. The results of this way of thinking have given us the current eyesore of buildings. It is time we look at this from a different perspective. Main Street retail is suffering and doing the same thing over many decades yields the same mediocrity. All one needs to do is drive on Jericho Turnpike from Bellerose to Mineola. This mixed use model is an abject failure. With all due respect to our neighbors on Jericho Turnpike, would any of you want your children to live in the current apartment space? I have spoken to my fellow Mayors in Bellerose, Floral Park and Mineola. Apartments above stores, and especially vacant stores, are all we have and it hasn’t worked. There is a golden opportunity to reimagine what is possible in our Village. The Miller Brothers property is hopefully the impetus for our building owners to actually invest in their buildings and start cleaning up the mixed use mess along Jericho Turnpike. Now is the time for this once in a generation opportunity. We will keep you advised of further details.
2023 is setting up to be a most exciting year for all of us in this Village. Please join us for a memorable and fun year. Sign up for a committee or our Neighborhood Watch. Life is a not a spectator sport. Let’s get in the game together and make a difference for all of us. You are all welcome to participate. Volunteering and helping others is good for the soul.
Mayor, Village of New Hyde Park