On the corner of East Meadow and Prospect Avenues sits the East Meadow Town Square, a grassy area highlighted by a gazebo, and laden with park benches, brick pathways, colorful flowers and trimly cut grass. The square sits serenely in the heart of East Meadow, and is an ideal place to sit, relax, and read a book on a warm spring or summer day.
The Town Square, part of Veterans Memorial Park, was designed and constructed by the East Meadow Chamber of Commerce just over 10 years ago. The Chamber worked in conjunction with the Town of Hempstead, which owns the park, to secure the land and create what would become a neighborhood landmark.
The building of the square took place throughout the duration of a handful of presidencies in the Chamber, in which each one lent their own vision to its creation. “Every time I drive past that, I look at it and say, we did that as a team for our community,” said Richard Bivone, a past president who helped lay the design of the park. “It’s a part of our history and we’re really proud of it.”
Since its creation, the square has served as the home of the Chamber’s annual Holiday Lighting Ceremony, as well as the home of the local Memorial Day ceremony. “At the end of the day, it’s everybody’s park,” said Jim Skinner, who arranged the square’s construction during his presidency.
The Town Square is one of many neighborhood initiatives that the Chamber of Commerce has instituted since its inauguration in 1954, when Edward Speno was inducted as its first president. Jerrold Rosenthal, who joined the Chamber a few years after its inception, said the organization was very active right from the get-go. “In the early years, it was a very, very active chamber. Everyone worked in coordination with the Kiwanis,” said Rosenthal, who, with his son Ed, runs Rosenthal, Curry & Kranz, a law firm on Front Street. “There was tremendous cooperation between the Kiwanis and the Chamber.”
Always a community-first organization, the Chamber used to organize senior picnics at Eisenhower Park in the ‘80s, during the presidency of Tom Gallagher. “It’s about giving back to the community,” said Gallagher, who owns nine Century 21 offices, including his home base in East Meadow.