More than 150 community members — dressed in snazzy attire — filed into Bridgeview Yacht Club on March 30 for the 67th annual Island Park Chamber of Commerce Awards Dinner & Dance, where they celebrated some of the village’s most integral people and businesses.
Following a cocktail hour, the award ceremony began, during which Carpet Craft was granted the Lifetime Achievement Award; South Shore Collision was named Island Park’s Most Improved Business; Nina Hargrove earned the Community Service Award; and Jack’s Pizzeria garnered Business of the Year.
“It was just a fantastic evening to promote very well-deserving honorees, and promote their business, the Chamber of Commerce and the community of Island Park,” said Chamber President Michael Scully.
Josephine and Nate Natalello, who have been married for 32 years, own and operate Jack’s Pizzeria, a popular mainstay on Long Beach Road. With the help of their two children, they have served Italian cuisine to loyal customers since 2011. Though Hurricane Sandy destroyed the restaurant, the Natalellos rebuilt it, and completed an expansion to double its size in January.
“Without the community and everyone in Island Park, this would not be possible,” Nate told the crowded room. “We try to provide the best possible service…and we want our pizzeria to feel like home.”
Nina Hargrove received a standing ovation during the ceremony for her service to the Island Park School District, where she worked since 1972. She was the director of recreation at the schools from 1980 to 2009, and served on the schools’ Board of Education from 2012 to 2016. She was also a corresponding secretary and president of the Island Park Parent Teacher Association.
Bashir Shirzay, who opened Carpet Craft on Austin Boulevard in 1991 and started Shirzay Realty in 1997, accepted the Lifetime Achievement Award. Stephen Lanning, with his sons Jared and Tom, were honored for South Shore Collision’s resilience, growth and civic-mindedness since opening in 1999.
“Last night was an indication of what a tight-knit community we are,” Scully said, “where we support each other.”