Editor’s note: All week long, Brittany Wait is profiling people around Great Neck, from community leaders to residents she bumps into around town.
Brett Joseph, 27, of Great Neck, has lived in the community his entire life, but plans to move to Manhattan in October to pursue a business initiative with his friend Benjamin Sherman, 30, of Great Neck.
He graduated from SUNY Albany with a bachelor’s degree in sociology and business in 2007, then got his master’s degree in management at Polytechnic Institute of New York University in 2011. He is now vice president of BoozBucks, an Internet company that provides promotional discounts at bars and nightclubs across the country.
Community affiliations: He was director of media relations for the Rotary Club of Great Neck between 2008 and 2010.
You’ve lived here all your life, so what has kept you from leaving all these years?
It’s definitely been a privilege growing up in Great Neck. Our line provides easy access to Manhattan by train or car and all of the comforts of an intimate suburban setting.
What is most notable about the community?
Things have definitely taken a turn in the last couple of years, but one thing I love about living here is the sense of community. Being in such a cultural community gives us a very necessary exposure to perspectives outside of the Long Island bubble.
What challenges do you think the community faces?
Perhaps it’s due to the bad economy, but one thing that I’ve noticed is that there aren’t as many places for people to dine and congregate. It has lowered the energy level of the town. As a 27-year-old, it seems like people are drifting away from Great Neck. Most of my friends have already moved away and people are finding less and less a reason to stay. I’m moving in October to Manhattan. I’m hesitant to think that the current generation will stay like generations before.
Tell me some of the hidden gems in Great Neck and some of your favorite hangout spots.
Gino’s Pizzeria [on Middle Country Road] was, like, the “spot.” Their house salad with mozzarella cheese on top is amazing. I still have friends that ask me to bring them a salad. It’s everyone’s “go-to” food. I like Kensington Deli, too. The Paulie special, which is a brisket on a hero with horseradish sauce, is amazing. We also just got a new organic place called bee-ORGANIC on Bond Street. There’s also Lola, which is the best in fine dining, which has a lot of rich food on the menu. And go to JulieBelles [on Northern Boulevard] to pick from like a hundred sandwiches on the menu.
Define the character of the community.
Ambitious. It’s a very goal-oriented community. We take a lot of steps to try and make it better. They decorate the streets during the holidays and I enjoy the classic car festival each year. There always has been a very vibrant feeling in Great Neck. After all, Great Neck is referred to as the “West Egg” in “The Great Gatsby.”