Levels Manager Barry Weil (L) and Assistant Manager Samantha Zahabian (R) display a commendation from Congressman Thomas R. Suozzi for Levels’ 50 years of service to the community. (Photos by the Great Neck Library)

Levels Teen Center Celebrates Its 50th Birthday With Picnic And Gathering

Levels, the teen center in the Great Neck Library, turns 50 this year. The center celebrated this milestone on Saturday, June 22, with their annual Birthday Picnic at Kings Point Park, followed by a gathering at Levels from 6 p.m. to midnight.

Levels was conceived in 1974 by library director Joseph Covino as a place where teens can have a voice in the things they do, and enjoy an autonomy that they can’t always have in the rest of the world. To assist in this, a versatile, multi-use room in the Main Library was designed by Great Neck architect Michael Harris Spector, featuring the multiple platforms, steps, and levels that give the place its name. Original Levels director Ed Amrhein then developed the program into a thriving home for Great Neck teens.

Today, it continues as both a hangout and gathering place, and a cultural arts center where teens can learn to create their own projects in music, theatre, video, visual art, and more with the mentorship of six adult artists currently working in their fields (three of whom are former Levels teens themselves). There’s also a Jr. Levels program for 5th and 6th graders where they can create their own movies, puppet shows, art projects, and more.

Over these 50 years, the program has evolved to meet the times, but the spirit of Levels has always been the same, giving teens a chance to make decisions and have ownership. Some former Levels teens include Tony and Emmy Award winners and Oscar nominees, as well as many other successful people in fields that have nothing to do with the arts — but who still use the skills in leadership and responsibility they learned working on Levels projects.

If you’re a teen in seventh grade and up, check out the Levels website at, or stop by the Library’s 159 Bayview Ave. location, Mondays-Thursdays from 3-10 p.m., Fridays from 3 p.m.-12 midnight, or Saturdays from 6 p.m.-12 midnight, and see for yourself what Levels is all about!

For more information on Levels and the 50th Anniversary Celebration, please contact Levels at 516-466-8055 ext. 216, or email Barry Weil at [email protected].

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