For Sabbath on Saturdays, Fewer Open Shops
By LINDA F. BURGHARDT
FOR Elizabeth Allen, it started when she needed a box of nails on a recent Saturday and the Great Neck hardware store she had patronized for years was closed. It hit Bruce Kerievsky when he went to his favorite barbershop in the Old Village and found it shuttered. For Jean Pierce, it was finding the neighborhood liquor store with the great selection of kosher wines closed.
Three Saturdays, three Great Neck stories, one worry: Is Great Neck going the way of Cedarhurst and seeing business shut down on the Jewish Sabbath?
“It seems that way to me,” said Richard Deem, the nuclear engineer who served as mayor of the Village of Great Neck for four years, finishing his last term a year ago. “Businesses can’t make enough money here anymore. There’s pressure from the religious community to close on Saturdays, and that’s the big shopping day for most people.”
More than a decade ago, the Village of Cedarhurst on the South Shore went through a demographic and cultural shift similar to what some say Great Neck is experiencing now, when a large influx of observant Jews, many of them members of the Orthodox Hasidic tradition, moved in and persuaded storekeepers and restaurant owners to close up shop on Saturday.
“On a Saturday now you could bowl down Central Avenue, Cedarhurst’s main shopping street,” said Linda Tsuruoka, who for many years ran a picture framing store there. “One day a man came to my store and said, ‘We’d prefer that you closed on Saturday.’ And I smiled and I said, ‘That’s nice,’ and I moved my business to Woodmere.”