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Chamber of Commerce Honors Community Leaders

Seeking a unified Great Neck with everyone working together

A Great Neck where everyone works together! That is what Great Neck Chamber of Commerce President Hooshang Nematzadeh called for at the Chamber’s annual awards dinner last Wednesday evening, April 25. In the beautiful waterfront setting at Melville Hall at the United States Merchant Marine Academy, the chamber presented four awards to members of the local community who consistently support the Chamber of Commerce and work together for the benefit of the entire Great Neck community.

Mr. Nematzadeh said that the honorees “have demonstrated that they are leaders in their fields and continue to contribute to the overall economic growth and development of Great Neck.”

Mr. Nematzadeh opened the evening with a thank you to those who work so hard to promote a better, stronger Great Neck. And he called for everyone to continue to work together, in partnership, as one community.

Frank Lalezarian, honored with the Jesse Markel award, founded his real estate development business in 1981, having just emigrated from Iran. Today the company develops multi-family high-rise apartment buildings, retail buildings and Class A office buildings throughout the metropolitan area. Throughout the years Mr. Lalezarian has given his time and financial assistance to many worthy institutions. He has been a supporter of The Friends of IDF and The Great Neck Arts Center. He is a donor and board member of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island Hebrew Academy and The Maccabee Foundation. He is a donor and board member of the Iranian American Jewish Federation, the Holocaust Memorial and Tolerance Center of Nassau County, North Shore Long Island Jewish Health System, Long Island Hebrew Academy and The Maccabee Foundation.

Mr. Nematzadeh said that his friend and mentor Frank Lalezarian is “a great developer and a unique person … his developments in Great Neck have added so much to the landscape.”

Accepting his award, Mr. Lalezarian said that the honor is not for one person but for “all in this great Great Neck community.” He spoke of how much Great Neck has to offer and that everyone should always welcome new people … and he added that the new members of the community should also be welcoming to those in their new home.

Steven Kocoris, awarded the Nassau Council of Chambers of Commerce Business Person of the Year Award, is a group director and senior vice president at Signature Bank where he focuses on serving the financial needs for businesses, individuals and private clients in the metropolitan New York area. A longtime member of the Great Neck Chamber of Commerce, he has served on the chamber’s We Care Committee since 2000, helping raise funds for special causes in the Great Neck community. He has been on the chamber board since 2003 and chamber treasurer since 2007. He has also served as treasurer of Kiwanis and co-chaired fundraisers for local scholarships.

Joel Halpern received one of two Robert E. Freedman Retailer awards. Joel Halpern, owner of Jesse Halpern Skate and Tennis Shop, now runs the shop his father opened in December 1940. Personal service, expert fitting, and quality workmanship are the keys to the success of this family-owned business. Over the years the Halperns have supported various charitable organizations by donating skates for underprivileged children.

The Robert E. Freedman Retailer Award was also presented to Frank, Chris and Frank, Jr. Marzano. Chris Marzano and Frank Marzano, Jr. of Don Joe Auto Body Shop run this family-owned and operated business which their father opened in 1950. The Marzano family has always taken pride in their work and the appearance of their business and they are currently undergoing a major renovation to improve their operation and improve their service to the Great Neck community.

Rounding out the evening, Richard Stancati was presented with a special “surprise” award. Mr. Stancati, along with his wife Lolly, are long-time Great Neck residents who first owned the popular restaurant, The Kitchen, before moving on to run the restaurant/catering facility at the U.S.M.M.A. Mr. Stancati was originally president and then chairman of the board of the Great Neck Village Business Association. When that organization merged with the Chamber of Commerce, Mr. Stancati became an active member of the Chamber.

Thanking the large crowd for being a part of the evening, Mr. Nematzadeh was most appreciative in acknowledging the wonderful mix of cultures attending and coming together to support Great Neck and the Chamber of Commerce.


The recent adoption the Common Core Learning Standards, a rigorous series of teacher and student assessment testing, and the potential sharing of confidential student information with third parties have resulted in a radical change in the educational landscape in New York State—one that many parents have been concerned about.

To address these growing concerns, the Great Neck School District’s United Parent Teacher Council recently hosted a question and answer session at South High School with New York State Regent Roger Tilles, a Great Neck resident who has been outspoken with both his support of content the Common Core and his disapproval in how the new set of learning standards have been implemented.

At a meeting last week, after almost four hours of back and forth between Clover Drive residents, the attorney representing builder Frank Lalazarian’s controversial Old Mill II project and members of the Village of Great Neck’s Planning Board, there was very little progress, no vote taken and far more questions than answers.

The subdivision plan, a project under discussion for the last five years and recently approved by the village’s Zoning Board of Appeals, calls for 11 houses to be built in the area behind the Old Mill Apartments, with sole access from Clover Drive. Complicating the builder’s efforts to gain approval to start building is the fact that one of the lots is within the boundaries of Great Neck Estates and will require that village’s approval also.  Additionally, Lalazarian’s project must gain the approval of several Nassau County agencies, including its department of public works, department of health and planning commission.


The Bears team before a recent game at the Andrew Stergiopoulos Ice Rink with Coach Dan Marsella.

Great Neck’s Ayal Hod is the proud coach of Great Neck’s winning Top Gun sixth grade team in the Island Garden Fall League. Hod puts together the team every season, mixing local youngsters from Great Neck and children son Dillon’s AAU Jamaica Queens team. The league is very competitive and challenging and it teaches the children many valuable lessons: “how to be great teammates by sharing the ball, how to compete hard on every possession and what you put in is what you get out.”

Hod says that the main challenge is for every child to bring their individual talent to the team and collectively they have something special. an ex-player, he says that “basketball was very good to me, it helped pay my college education and it  paid my-bills for many years to come via several basketball commercials ... basketball also opened many doors for me and it helped me tremendously in my business career.”

Hod enjoys sharing his basketball journey background with his son and his friends and having them learn lessons too.


Park District Swim

Saturday, Dec. 7

Board of Education Meeting

Monday, Dec. 9

Peter Max Exhibit Presentation

Tuesday, December 10


1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller,

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry,

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller,