"Remember when he started lecturing me on New York values like we're no good?" Trump asked his supporters, referring to Cruz's attempt to undercut Trump's socially conservative credentials ahead of the Iowa caucuses.
"I looked at him and started talking about our incredible police, our incredible firefighters," Trump said, pointing to New Yorkers' bravery after the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center.
The roaring crowd of about 10,000 supporters -- per Nassau County Fire Marshal Scott Tusa's estimate -- responded in kind with chants of "U.S.A." and "Lyin' Ted," picking up on the moniker with which the brash billionaire has sought to brand Cruz.
Trump's rally drew relatively few protesters, with only two interruptions during his speech -- including one that prompted the New York crowd to begin chanting a vulgar insult at the protester. Several dozen protesters demonstrated outside as Trump supporters made their way into the rally.
In his attack on Cruz, Trump spotlighted those who died during the September 11 terror attacks.
"We all know people who died and I've got this guy standing over there looking at me and talking to me about New York values with scorn on his face, with hatred of New York," Trump said. "So folks, I think you can forget about him."
Cruz himself was in New York on Wednesday, spending time in the Bronx as he pivots his campaign to the Empire State, which votes in less than two weeks.
Trump is poised to trounce his opponents in the New York primary on April 19, with the latest polls showing Trump with just over 50% of support -- more than doubling Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich.
But to win all of New York's 95 Republican delegates, Trump will need to win a majority of votes both statewide and in each of New York's congressional districts.
Trump's opponents could peel off victories in spite of an overwhelming Trump win if they net at least 20% of support either statewide or in individual congressional districts.
The brash billionaire played up his home state advantage here on Wednesday night, reminding the crowd that he grew up in neighboring Queens and used to come play golf here in Bethpage.
"It's great to be home," Trump said. "We love New York and we are all together going to make America great again folks."
Trump also brought home some of his standard stump speech, including his colorful way of vowing to keep Syrian refugees out of the U.S. -- a promise Trump hammered home by once again reading "The Snake," an Al Wilson song Trump frequently pulls out to warn that Syrian refugees could be a Trojan horse.
Trump's daughter Ivanka made her first appearance on the campaign trail since giving birth to Trump's eighth grandson ten days ago, introducing her real estate mogul father by praising "the strength of his character" and his ability to "do deals that were seemingly impossible."