Local parks are usually named for retired (or deceased) politicians and community leaders, or those who fell in battle, or emergency responders who were victims of the September 11 attacks.
But naming one for a “gadfly”?
That was the adjective attached to Manhasset’s Mary Jane Davies. And if her spirit haunts the 1.4-acre park on Plandome Road named in her honor, then it has a good vantage point: situated diagonally across from the Town Hall, the place she haunted for decades.
Davies was a constant presence at the Town of North Hempstead Town Board meetings, and on at least two occasions, ran for a town council seat on the Conservative line. One newspaper account described her as a “Town Hall gadfly with legendary knowledge of the zoning code.”
“Longtime board watcher” was another appellation that frequently preceded her name in newspaper archives.
She had been a registered Republican, but in a campaign statement published in a 1977 issue of the Manhasset Press she stated, “I left the Republican Party in Nassau because it is totally ruled by Joseph Margiotta and his patronage fed robots.”
A civic activist, Davies was president of the Norgate Civic Association and zoning chairman of the Council of Greater Manhasset Civic Associations, among other associations.
Oasis On A Main Street
Centrally located—indeed, it is the only park in the hamlet proper—the Green features lots of trees, walking trails, a gazebo and a large children’s playground with a water spray pad. The town will spend $250,000 during its current capital plan to renovate the playground.
It is a center of activities, with the gazebo serving as a popular spot for wedding photos and an annual town-sponsored Christmas tree lighting ceremony.
The gazebo also serves as the stage for a popular summer concert series. Visit www.northhempsteadny.gov for updates on the lineup.
Dogs are allowed, though of course they must be leashed and cleaned up after.
Bounded by Manhasset Avenue on the north and Memorial Place on the south, the property was once home to the Plandome Road School, a large brick structure erected in 1915 and torn down decades later to make way for the Manhasset Village Green.