Written by Wendy Kreitzman Friday, 15 March 2013 00:00
It seemed like an odd request to some, but the owner of a house at 4 Park Place in the Village of Great Neck made a formal request to change his address. Claiming that prospective Chinese buyers would shun their house due to the “unlucky” number 4 in their address, the owners asked for an address change, but, to date, the village has denied the request.
Village of Great Neck Mayor Ralph Kreitzman told the Great Neck Record that he could not support the request, as he feared that such a change could set a precedent. The request was first heard at the Old Village’s Feb. 5 board of trustees meeting, was turned down by a vote of 3 to 2, and was heard again at the March 5 board meeting.
Robert Silverstein of 4 Park Place originally asked to change his address from 4 to 8. After the request was turned down, Silverstein and the real estate broker who represents him met with Kreitzman.
Kreitzman said that Silverstein and his broker explained that a lot of Chinese families are seeking homes in Great Neck but will not purchase a house with the number 4 as “4 means death” or in some dialects, number four “sounds like death.” In a letter to the village board, Silverstein also noted that “many Asian cultures” will “deliberately … avoid” a house with the number 4.
Silverstein said that a large number of buyers, many of whom are Chinese, will avoid his house. He said that his real estate broker “substantiated” this fact and “advised us to change the number in our address” since “the majority of buyers of homes in the market now are Chinese.”
When the board turned down the first request, Silverstein asked that the issue be raised once again. At the March 5 board meeting, Kreitzman once again raised the issue but none of the members of the board
chose to discuss the request, nor did anyone ask to bring this to a vote.
Several phone calls to Silverstein went unanswered. As well, the real estate broker wished to remain anonymous.