Michael Long – Chairperson of the New York State ConservativeParty, Member of the Fifth Avenue Business Improvement District,Former Member of the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade, Former Member ofthe advisory board of Victory Memorial Hospital, Founder and FormerBoard Member of the Committee to Restore Honor and Respect toPolicemen, Board Chairperson at Daytop Village International, VicePresident of the Fort Hamilton Citizens Action Committee

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT: Michael Long began his neighborhoodactivism with the formation of The Voice of Bay Ridge, a precursorto the Fifth Avenue Board of Trade and the Fifth Avenue BusinessImprovement District (BID). He says the organization was formed bya large group of local business and political leaders as a directreaction to what they felt was unfair targeting by police. BecauseBay Ridge is somewhat of a successful community, it felt like thecity was using Bay Ridge in a heavy-handed way and weren’t doing itto other communities because they knew they could, Long said,citing excessive parking tickets and vehicle towing as two ways thecity was abusing its power. In response, Long who ran Long’s Winesand Liquors on Fifth Avenue with his brother for 22 years,persuaded other merchants on the Avenue to join the group in theircrusade to make the neighborhood a more fair place to live. We gotthe store owners to unite, he recalls.

PERSONAL: Born in Brooklyn, Long moved to Bay Ridge in 1981,opening his liquor store in 1983. He has been married for 38 yearsand has nine children, 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.He says the decision to bring up a family in Bay Ridge was a greatone. I am very happy we raised our children here, he said. Greatpeople, a great community and I am very glad we made that move along time ago.

BIGGEST CHALLENGE: Long says that balancing his time remains astruggle, especially when his community comes calling. All thistakes a lot of time in your life and sometimes you don’t take avacation because you’ve got obligations, he explained. Sometimesyou lose time from your family. But it’s very rewarding to giveback to the community and be part of what everyone isexperiencing.

INSPIRATION: The inspiration for Long’s local activism is in theresults he sees in his own neighborhood. He points to the BID as anexample of what can happen when local residents mobilize. We werevery successful in putting Bay Ridge back on the map, Long saidproudly. Everyone had a clear sense that the community was unitedand people were standing together. He says that seeing hisneighbors lives improve is the ultimate reward. Hopefully, what Ido makes people’s lives better, he said. That’s all one canask.

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