Massapequa Park Mayor Jeffrey Pravato was born in a different village -- Farmingdale -- but he's lived here for the past two decades, so he knows a thing or two about what it means to call Massapequa Park home. According to Pravato, you know you're from Massapequa Park if...
… you've attended the village's annual Fourth of July parade.
Thousands attend the parade, which stretches two miles from Aster Street to Front Street. “The first time you walk down Park Boulevard in the Fourth of July parade and see the electricity in the street, it’s one of the best things,” Pravato said. The crowds are 10 to 15 people deep, the bands are playing and you feel like Massapequa Park is the American village.”
… you know that Woody's Village Saloon on Park Boulevard was a movie set.
Pravato said the 2011 film, “Young Adult,” starring Charlize Theron, filmed scenes here.
... you know the village's annual bocce tournament can get quite competitive.
This year’s event is scheduled for Sept. 20 at Brady Park. “It gets pretty heated,” Pravato added.
... St. Patrick's Day comes twice a year.
Every July, the village hosts Irish Night in Brady Park, which is attended by hundreds of residents.
… you've had the macaroni and cheese from The Good Life.
“I had it last night,” Pravato said of the popular dish at the Park Boulevard restaurant. “You’ve got to have it.” In the last few years, many new restaurants have opened in the village. A wine bar, next to Massapequa Perk on Front Street, is also in the works, he added.
… you shop local.
Massapequa Park has very few vacant stores, which Pravato attributes to the quality of the businesses and the loyalty of residents. “Our residents want to stay local.” Pravato said many of the stores and restaurants are also owned by local residents like Pete Mangouranes, pictured here at Massapequa Perk Coffee House, one of three businesses he owns in the village. “They live here, they work here, and they want to make their community better.”
… you've had breakfast at Brady Park.
Once a year, the village hosts a free breakfast buffet inside the park. The 2014 event drew roughly 500 people.
…. you’ve moved, but haven’t gone far.
Pravato said he’s had two different addresses in Massapequa Park, the home he and his wife first purchased on East Lake Shore, and the house they later moved into in 2001. And he said he’s not alone. Many former and current village officials have moved within, but not outside, the village’s borders, he added.
...you want to protect the character of the community.
Pravato said striking a balance between "moving the village into the 21st century" and maintaining its "quaintness" can be a challenge. “Change comes with some growing pains, but we need to do it the right way and preserve the quality of life.”
… you know Massapequa Park is only as good as the people in it.
Pravato said, “Our residents are our greatest asset." Here, Massapequa Park resident Robert Justin Hannigan, 4, -- the great grandson of two WWII vets -- salutes local veterans as they pass by in the village's 2014 Memorial Day parade.