Historical Society honoree: Former Mayor Episcopia
In addition to selecting Society Past President Brian Pinnola and Old World Quality Corporation owner Vinny Muldoon as honorees at its upcoming Gala Benefit, Thursday, May 11, at the Garden City Country Club, The Garden City Historical Society will acknowledge the accomplishments of former Mayor Nick Episcopia — a neighbor, friend and advocate for residents and the Garden City community. Please join us in recognizing Nick’s dedicated service.
Nicholas “Nick” Episcopia’s 20 years of service to Garden City reflect his dedication to preserving our Village’s heritage and quality of life. He began as a Director of the Eastern Property Owners’ Association in 1997, and went on to be elected EPOA Vice President and President. He served for 12 years on the Village Board, having first been elected Trustee in 2005. Nick also served four years on the Executive Board of the Nassau County Village Officials Association.
During his 12 years on the Village Board, Nick served as liaison to every Village Commission and Board, and as Police Commissioner and Fire Commissioner. He focused on the significant issues facing the Village, including labor negotiations; taxation, budget and finance; public safety; building, zoning and planning; as well as improvements to recreation facilities and programs serving residents of all ages. He helped create Village budgets that complied with the New York State tax cap, yet contained no diminution of Village services or programs, and preserved the health of the business community. Nick was appointed Deputy Mayor in 2013, and was elected Village Mayor, serving from 2015-2017.
A 44-year resident of Garden City, Nick truly believes that unlike big government, villages exist to respond directly to the people. No matter how busy he was, he always found time to help any residents who contacted him. He not only spoke with them by phone, but also went to their homes to make sure he had a complete understanding of the situation. If the problem related to Village services, policies or codes, he would try to help resolve the issue whenever he could.
Recognizing the importance of communication with other Villages, Nick attended the New York Conference of Mayors’ meetings in Albany. He obtained information and ideas for the benefit of Garden City and established effective lines of communication with elected officials from neighboring villages, the Town of Hempstead, Nassau County and New York State. He maintains that “communicating with elected officials outside of Garden City is critical at a time when forces in Albany favor expanding the power of big government and the dissolution of villages.” True to his word, Nick has tirelessly worked with residents and neighboring village officials to fight for the rights, safety and property values of people whose homes and businesses may be affected by the proposed LIRR Main Line 3rd Track Expansion Project, and he joined other officials to defeat the proposed OTB casino at the Fortunoff site.
Responding to residents’ concerns about the proliferation of new large homes built on relatively narrow plots, as Mayor, Nick took steps to preserve the existing character of Garden City’s neighborhoods for future generations. To ensure conformity to the streetscape, he charged an appointed Committee to review and propose amendments to strengthen Garden City’s Building Code. The legislation was unanimously approved by the Village Board.
“I believe that the Stewart houses are an integral part of the history and culture of Garden City,” Nick remarks. “Purchasers should be well aware of this and the Village government should adopt legislation that would prevent demolition of the homes listed on the National Register. I wholeheartedly continue to support the Historical Society’s efforts to create village-wide awareness of these irreplaceable structures.” When contacted by the BBC, which wanted to film a TV segment about Garden City’s early rail transportation for its Great American Railway series, Nick arranged for the Historical Society to tell the story.
A true public servant, Nick always focuses on the needs and interests of the residents of this Village, and the Village’s history, with a passion and dedication that is hard to match.
The Gala Benefit on May 11 will provide financial support for the Society’s capital campaign to restore and preserve the exterior of its museum. Event sponsorships are available by contacting Albert Intreglia (516-750-3214 during business hours) or Francine Ryan at 917-796-7586. Reservations for the cocktail reception at the Garden City Country Club will be taken until May 4. Tickets are $100 per person ($125 at the door, limited availability); contact Gloria Jones at 516-248-0042 or 917-446- 6131. 50/50 raffle tickets ($10 or three for $25) are now on sale at the Society’s A.T. Stewart Exchange on the lower level of the Historical Society Museum, or by contacting Mary Jane Caldwell at 516- 248-5917 or 516-304-6682. Consignment shop hours are Tuesday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 4 p.m.