History Hidden In Plain Sight

Valley Stream Historical Society: The Park Inn Garage Part II


Today, an Acura dealer sits on the corner of South Terrace Place and West Merrick Road in Valley Stream, but for many years, it was the Park Inn Garage and Park Inn Ford.

When soldiers came home from World War II, they wanted to move out of New York City and onto Long Island. But, they still had to commute to work, making them more automobile dependent. To meet this increasing demand, the Park Inn Ford, built in 1922, needed a larger dealership. “The new structure will include a four-car showroom and a glass-encased lubritorium equipped to handle two cars at once. The agency will also enlarge and modernize its service station and increase the size of its parts department,” reported the February 6, 1946 issue of the Nassau Daily Review Star.

The dealership was opened in 1948 and was run by Victor Grieco and his son, Joseph. Joseph joined his father at the dealership after serving in the army, and became the dealer’s most lauded salesman for about half a century. Charles Willis was the final owner of the Ford dealership, and he began his reign in 1964 and held onto the business until his passing in 2005, when it was sold to Acura.

To some Valley Stream residents, the change in dealerships was just one more thing that was changing in Valley Stream. “When I was a little girl Merrick Road had many open lots where we used to play,” said Joan Smith, Victor Grieco’s daughter. “I feel sad now when I pass my father’s business and don’t see the familiar Park Inn sign. The bricks on my childhood house, an English Tudor, have been painted over and the timbers are now covered in siding. I try not to go down these streets anymore.”