Accusations of anti-Chinese talk by Trump supporters at car parade in G.N.

Accusations of anti-Chinese talk by Trump supporters at car parade in G.N.

More than 100 cars decorated with flags, banners and signs supporting President Donald Trump paraded along Middle Neck Road in Great Neck on Sunday afternoon, which led to traffic jams, drivers not abiding by traffic laws, and yelling of expletives and racial slurs from the car windows.

One group of younger men packed into a black Jeep flying an American flag, Trump 2020 flag and a “Thin Blue Line” flag, made a left onto Hicks Lane from Middle Neck Road and cut several drivers off who intended to keep going straight.

Two of the younger men made obscene gestures to the drivers they cut off, and another one in the back yelled expletives while the driver sounded his horn.

Residents throughout the Great Neck peninsula received flyers last week that advertised a car parade to support Trump beginning at the Best Market parking lot, later changed to the Parkwood lower parking lot, and to then travel north on Middle Neck Road and circle the peninsula.

Village of Great Neck resident Rebecca Rosenblatt Gilliar said she saw around 125 cars in the procession, and the influx of traffic and lack of police presence made it difficult for emergency vehicles to navigate the area. 

“The procession of about 125 cars clogged two of the three access roadways of the Great Neck peninsula,” Gilliar said. “They consumed the length of Hicks Lane making the passage of an ambulance heading to any one of the three local hospitals a difficult, even treacherous trip, especially in the rain. The cars honked incessantly, though Mr. Trump says there is a ‘silent’ vote for him here in the suburbs that is about to emerge. Not so silent.”

American flags were also prominently flown out of around 25 cars throughout the peninsula, despite the inclement weather. Federal law states: “The flag should not be displayed on days when the weather is inclement, except when an all-weather flag is displayed.”

The initial gathering of the cars at Parkwood’s lower parking area featured more flags, cardboard cutouts of Trump’s face, and racially targeted comments to people of Asian descent. In one recorded instance, a woman in a “Make America Great Again” hat was videotaping a car driving by as someone yelled, “Take this s**t back to China!”

Efforts to find out who or what group organized the event were unavailing. Several representatives at Best Market, where the parade was originally scheduled to begin, declined to comment as they did not “want to be featured in a fake news piece.”

The Great Neck Park District Board of Commissioners released a statement after the event.

“The Park Commissioners are aware that social media postings include video of racist comments made by some participants in the unsanctioned event,” the statement reads. “The Park Board vehemently rejects all racist conduct or comments whenever made. The gathering was in no way a Park District event. The Park District issued no permit for the gathering, in fact the sponsors did not apply or receive the permit that would have been required by the Park District.”

Park District Superintendent Jason Marra said the district “regulates public assembly as permitted under the First Amendment by requiring all who desire to use park facilities for purposes of speech and assembly to submit a permit application.”

Marra said the Park District contacted the Nassau County Police Department when the group refused to follow directions from the park’s staff since no permit was filed.

“Those rules were ignored by the large group that materialized at approximately 2 p.m. Sunday seeking to enter the Parkwood lot,” Marra said. “Park District security personnel advised all who arrived that access was limited to those seeking to use the Parkwood facilities or groups with permits for assembly. Our staff advised all who were there for any other purpose that they would not be admitted onto the premises.  When the group refused to follow direction from our staff, they created public safety concerns beyond the resources of the Park District.”

Efforts to reach the  Police Department for comment were unavailing. There was no traffic advisory sent out by the department regarding any road closures or parade routes.

Steve Markowitz, the president of the Great Neck Democratic Club, said the remarks made at the event on Sunday were reflective of Trump’s campaign messages.

“During the recent pro-Trump car rally in Great Neck racist anti-Chinese comments were heard which clearly reflect the impact of the President’s campaign messages,” Markowitz said. “I want to assure the local Asian community that the Democratic Party, our leadership at the national, state, county levels – and right here in Great Neck – reject and denounce these efforts and stand with all our residents, no matter their race, religion or national origin.  I call upon our local Republican elected and party officials to do the same.”

Efforts to get comments from the Republican Party in Nassau County and the Trump campaign were not immediately successful.

The remarks during Sunday’s event were not the first instance of anti-Asian incidents being reported in Great Neck.

A letter signed by nearly 40 parent leaders in the school district last month said younger Asian students were asked if they eat bats and were called “COVID-19 spreaders” by other students. The letter said the racial slurs and hateful comments have been directed primarily at “young, defenseless children ranging from elementary to high school age.”

Village of Great Neck Mayor Pedram Bral took to Facebook on Monday regarding racist comments.

“Racism has no room in Great Neck!” Bral said. “I have and will continue to strongly denounce and condemn any form of racial slurs against any community, specially in [the] Great Neck area. We can not be a Republican or a Democrat unless we are an American first.”

Great Neck Public School Board President Barbara Berkowitz said various elections have created divisiveness throughout the Great Neck community.

“Once again, a few residents turned the focus of a political rally in our town on its ear,” Berkowitz said. “Assumably the people cheering in and out of the cars were a part of the parade route to show their support, as is customary but just a few of the shouted remarks instead redirected any positivity to their personal messages of bigotry and divisiveness.”

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  1. This is such a hateful article! The town is very enthusiastic and wanted to show support to our president. You mentioned that ambulances couldnt get through… LIES!!! Not 1 ambulance was in sight and we were so accommodating of traffic. Everyone participating in the rally were on one lane of the road to accommodate everyone else. PURE HATE! The BLM protests that were ILLEGAL, & NOT PERMITTED SHUT DOWN TRAFFIC ALL DOWN MIDDLE NECK RD!!! Talk about causing trouble to the first responders!!! You should be ashamed of writing such a hateful and hypocritical article.

  2. Typical negative article by this publication. YOU are the reason Trump has so much support. People are sick and tired of being marginalized and put down for their political views.
    Shame on Markowitz. Like a vulture he comes in to create more division. The Democratic Party doesn’t give damn about Chinese Americans.

    • Absolutely right, David! I don’t understand why journalists like this one can’t figure out that we, the middle class white republican, are the most marginalized group in existence! I mean this is how I imagine African Americans felt back in the day, but I can’t be sure as none live around me since we didn’t let them buy property in Long Island for decades (whoops!).

      I mean clearly the problem with the divisiveness in this country is this local reporter and not the President who calls people losers, his opponent’s wives ugly, and threatens to cutoff funding to blue states during a pandemic. Why can’t we just have one little not-at-all-like-a-cult parade to celebrate how much we love our boyfriend – I mean President! I meant to say President! I don’t dream about Trump at all! Not once have I fantasized about him pulling down my pants and saying “it’s yuge!” before we go at it like animals in his campaign bus while it idles in a McDonald’s drive thru!

      Anyway David I just wanted to say that I completely agree with and that you don’t at all come across as a whiny 11 year old girl who is upset someone told her that her favorite boy band is lame.

  3. Thank you for a comprehensive article about the shameful display of racism and disregard for our laws that took place on Sunday 11/1 in Great Neck. The only “pure hate” that was on display was from the loud and vocal Trump supporters who shouted racist anti-Asian slurs.
    This illegal, non-permitted parade raises many questions about the workings of the Village of Great Neck and the GN Parks Department. Everyone knew this was planned, and no effort was made to obtain necessary permits. Village officials and parks department officials are all complicit in allowing this. Where is the oversight on these people?
    Concerned citizens like myself notified the police in an attempt to ensure safety, yet there was still congestion and people still broke the traffic laws. The hateful chants directed to Asian-Americans are an embarrassment to all residents of Great Neck.
    Regardless of what candidate you support, enthusiasm can be shown without exhibiting hate to another person or group. This was a terrible show of inhumanity in Great Neck, and our town needs to take a long hard look at how this was allowed to happen. Our elected officials, in the village and in the Parks Department, have a lot to answer for.

  4. Nina Gordon, I would like to respond to your post. First off, this was a peaceful, beautiful and united parade in support of our country. The police were well informed of the event, and so was the park district. The commissioner of the park district was in communication with the organizers, so please, don’t fall for their BS. Just so you know, the BLM protest that happened in Great Neck was completely illegal. No police were notified, there were no permits issues, and traffic on Middle Neck Rd was COMPLETELY SHUT DOWN!!! NOT EVEN 1 CAR CAN PASS THROUGH!!!! This rally was considerate of the general traffic and we were all in one lane. Maybe if you would have came, you would have saw. But continue believing this article who has ZERO sources.

  5. Nina, let me remind you where you live: almost two miles from Hicks lane, close to Northern Blvd. What danger to you are you talking about? Btw, two days after that BLM illegal protest I was shopping at a Asian owed small business north of town, where you don’t go. Trust me, the Asian lady owner wasn’t shy to display her feelings toward the protesters. She told me she hid the valuables and stood outside her store with a bat. Go figure that out!


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