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Great Neck mayor loves community, commute
Editor’s note: All week long, Brittany Wait is profiling people around Great Neck, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.
Ralph Kreitzman, 66, mayor of Great Neck Village since 2007, has lived in the community for 38 years.
Community affiliations: Vice president of the Great Neck Village Officials Association; director of the Water Authority of Great Neck North; president of the Nassau County Village Officials Association; vice president of the Tri-County Municipal Officials Association; on the executive committee of the New York State Conference of Mayors
What initially brought you here and what has kept you here?
I’ve been married 43 years and my wife [Wendy Karpel, editor of the Great Neck Record] and I both grew up on the South Shore of Long Island. We knew we wanted to live on the North Shore and came here because of the school system, parks and community. We’re happy here.
When you first moved here, what was most notable about the community?
We knew we wanted to move here and when we did we became the youngest couple on the block for three to four years. We moved here for the quality of life and all the great things the community has to offer like the shops, parks, school system, history and a real sense of community.
What does the community have to offer?
Everything. We have 13 temples and churches, so people under any denomination have a lot to choose from. I like that we’re close to the city, about 25 minutes by train and 20 minutes by car. This line on the railroad is the best. It really makes for a phenomenal commute. I have to mention the many pocket parks our kids grew up with. They’re fantastic.
What challenges do you think the community faces?
We want to enhance our downtown. We’re expecting more multi-family housings coming in and our road program to do repairs on the streets to extend the sidewalks and make it safer for pedestrians to cross the street.
How is business in Great Neck?
It’s been tough since 2008, but we’ve been holding our own. Ideally, we want to fill our empties with our own local businesses to keep the money in the village. The big-box stores near Great Neck really hurt us.
How has Great Neck changed throughout the years?
Great Neck has been changing for years. About 30 years ago, Jewish Persians who escaped from Iran settled here, primarily in Kings Point. Now, we have a larger Asian population and there’s more diversity than in previous years. Our schools are also ranked higher than others.
Define the character of the community.
My village is different than most. The community is very diverse and is a terrific place to live, work and raise your kids. I love it here.