Destination: Great Neck hosts West Egg Street Festival for local vendors

Destination: Great Neck hosts West Egg Street Festival for local vendors
Destination: Great Neck held a street festival to promote local businesses on May 16. (Photo courtesy of Josh Ratner)

Destination: Great Neck, a grassroots group aimed at rejuvenating the peninsula’s business district, held a West Egg Street Festival promoting local vendors on May 16.

The event, held at the Village Green, featured live music, food from local eateries, dance performances by ConfiDanZe Studio and first aid demonstrations from the Great Neck Vigilant Fire Department, and spotlighted business owners.

One of the group’s founders, Janet Nina Esagoff, said hundreds of people stopped by at various points throughout the day and that the public support for the group, and ultimately local businesses, was tremendous.

“All in all it was a very fun event that integrated all different diverse populations throughout Great Neck,” Esagoff said in a phone interview. “It was just a wonderful day in Great Neck. Everybody was smiling, enjoying the weather and we hope to replicate that event several times over the coming months and years, along with many other programs that Destination: Great Neck is all about.”

The group’s board is composed of Esagoff, Judy Liman, Michele Tabaroki, Nancy Shahverdi, Yemile Bucay, Irene Gabo, Lawrence Lin, Ilona Trokel, Arezou Tolou Hakimian and Lisa Saltzman.

Josh Ratner, the group’s interim executive director, echoed Esagoff’s remarks about the public support. Ratner said the event not only garnered more support for Great Neck’s business district, but also brought a unique and diverse community closer together.

“Not only was it a great event for the community but also for all of us who are trying to work together and collaborate to create a better Great Neck,” Ratner said. “It seems like every time we have an event more people come out of the woodwork, interested in the type of work we’re doing for the community and are volunteering, doing whatever they can to get involved.”

“All day long people streamed in, embracing the Great Neck community,” Liman said. “It’s so wonderful being part of a platform spreading positivity and goodwill throughout your community. It’s also nice seeing your neighbors happy and smiling, enjoying the day.”

A variety of local officials ranging from Town of North Hempstead Clerk Wayne Wink to Nassau County Legislator Ellen Birnbaum (D-Great Neck) attended the event.

“The leaders of Destination: Great Neck are doing a wonderful job promoting our diversified and vibrant business community through immersive events like the West Egg Street Fest,” Birnbaum said. “I’m thankful to this dedicated team of community leaders for their efforts, and would also like to extend my special appreciation to the instructors from ConfiDanZe who led us in an invigorating and fun morning dance class to kick off the day.”

Ratner touted the organization’s online presence, spearheaded by Michelle Tabaroki, who runs the organization’s social media along with being the owner of ConfiDanZe & Fitness Studio.

Despite the pages being less than three months old, the efforts of Tabaroki and the social media postings have resulted in more than 900 followers on the group’s Facebook page, “Destination: Great Neck” and more than 1,300 followers on its Instagram page “@GreatNeckBiz.”

Esagoff said in February she has noticed an occasional disconnect between village officials and residents regarding parking and ticketing. The group, she said, aspires to be a bridge to voice the issues facing residents so that their elected officials will know what is a legitimate issue and what could just be a grievance from a few individuals.

She said the organization will be planning more events in the future, looking to engage more business owners and to collaborate with government officials throughout the nine Great Neck villages in the form of a “cooperative retail environment” or even state and federal grants.

Efforts to revitalize the peninsula in a way beneficial to all of the villages have been made in the past. In 2019, the Great Neck Village Officials Association began hosting meetings which featured elected officials, business owners and guest speakers such as Eric Alexander of Vision Long Island.

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