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It was so easy then...
A love letter to '50s Long Beach Published: May 30, 2013 12:13 PM
I was born in the Long Beach Hospital and grew up there in the late '50s and early '60s, before I left for college. My family originally moved there in the '20s. I can't think of a better place to grow up.
During the summer, the city doubled from the 25,000 year-round residents. The beach was the place to be. The merchants took kindly to the locals, and we got the first shot at summer jobs.
It was our family place, with both sets of grandparents, aunts, uncles and many cousins living there. My father, mother and both grandfathers worked in Long Beach, giving me the feeling of being in a warm and safe environment. The guns that I knew about were in the holsters of the Long Beach police.
We played basketball at the Central School and even had a high school star of the time show up: Power Memorial's Lew Alcindor (he later changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar). Other games we enjoyed were stickball, wherever we could find a wall to draw a box, and football in the streets; play was suspended when a car approached. We all knew that it was time to go home when it got dark outside.
Electronics were different. You picked up your telephone and hoped no one else was on it (party line), and told the operator the number you wanted when she answered. All the numbers began with Long Beach 6. I was thrilled at age 5 (1950) when we got our own television and no longer had to go next door to watch at my neighbor's house.
Of course, in our little community there were fights, but fists were the only weapons I ever saw. The only gangs I knew about were on Broadway, where "West Side Story" was onstage. Economically, we were all about the same. Most families were lower to middle class, so envy didn't enter the picture.
During the decade I grew up, there were many nationally known stars who emerged from our small community. Long Beach basketball star Larry Brown, who won a gold medal in the 1964 Summer Olympics and was named to the Basketball Hall of Famefor his coaching, was the first one. Oscar winner Phil Robinson (best adapted screenplay, "Field of Dreams"), who also won an Emmy and many other awards, was another Long Beach product.
My favorites were the three Crystal brothers. The oldest, Joel, taught school in Long Beach for decades. He also led the city as a council member and eventually as president of the city council. Middle brother Richard, known as "Rip," has had a successful career. He could always sing. He was the star of the high school musical and went on to a career in musical theater. There is not much to say about the youngest brother, Billy Crystal that people don't know. He is an internationally known star.
After I finished college, I left the Island to pursue a career and raise a family. I have always been sorry that I didn't raise my children in Long Beach, but it just wasn't in the cards. I did take my children out to the beach every summer and often visited my father, who remained on the beach till his dying day. The children have fond memories of their visits.
I was thrilled to return 15 years ago to the Island, and have no plans to ever live anyplace else. The friendships I formed have lasted to this day. I think it is amazing how strong the bonds are. My class, Long Beach High School Class of 1963, prepares for its 50th reunion weekend that will be capped on June 29 at the Sands in Lido Beach.
On Facebook, we have more than 100 members who participate in sharing fond memories. The group is called LBHS 63. (Note: it is an open group; if you would like to see it, there is no need to join, but, of course, you are welcome.)
The only regret I have, besides not raising my children in Long Beach, is that I sold my first car to help pay for college. It was a 1955 Chevy convertible that could be worth six figures today.
Ron Wood, Calverton
Newsday May 20, 2013
Dee Muma, owner of Dark Horse Restaurant in Riverhead, can see the benefit of her social media efforts just by the number of customers walking in the door. "If I suddenly went silent on social media. . . new customers would dry up," says Muma, who works with Ron Wood Public Relations in Calverton to assist in her social media efforts.
She uses Facebook, as well as other sites like Yelp. She'll put up specials on Facebook, and customers will mention they saw a posting. "If they love your food, they're taking pictures and sharing it," says Muma.
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My answer is under number 2.
Congratulations to Neil Seiden of Asset Enhancement Solutions, a financial adviser in Port Washington, N.Y., on being mentioned in a New York Times story written by Ian Mount (8/1 edition), and in a Long Island Business News story written by Claude Solnik (9/7 edition). Mr. Seiden is an expert at providing creative financial solutions to business challenges, even in these difficult economic times.
Ron Wood has been nominated by the Long Island Press and is the running for best Publicist on Long Island.
New York Enterprise Report September 2011 2011 Best Advisors
Saundra M. Gumerove, Esq. of The Law Offices of Saundra M. Gumerove, Esq.
Lifetime Achievement Award, Attorney
When Saundra M. Gumerove’s first child, Lauren, was born in 1981, she was diagnosed with Sturge-Weber syndrome, which causes developmental disabilities, seizures, blindness, and learning disabilities. Previously solely a corporate lawyer, Gumerove refocused her legal practice in 1990 and devoted herself specifically to special needs law, striving towards helping disabled individuals and their families. “For me, I live it,” says Gumerove. “Not just because it’s my career, but it’s very personal to me because I need to make sure my daughter’s taken care of.
Gumerove often works with other attorneys, including divorce attorneys, personal injury lawyers, and trust and estate lawyers, in cases involving individuals with special needs and their families. Her counsel is also sought by those not in the legal field, including accountants, financial planners, physicians, and insurance agents, among others.
Aside from her legal work, Gumerove is very involved with advocacy for the developmentally disabled, working with organizations such as NYSARC and AHRC Nassau, nonprofit agencies that support individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. She frequently gives presentations to bar associations on special needs issues, as well as presentations for disability organizations on the legal issues that individuals with disabilities face. She has also testified before the state legislature and before other state and federal agencies. She speaks publicly at schools and other organizations several times a month and estimates that she takes on about one pro bono case per month.
Because of her own individual experiences with the types of issues that her clients face, Gumerove recognizes the dangers of getting too emotionally involved with her work, which can negatively affect the client. “I understand the pressure my clients are under because I live it every day,” she says.
Her ability to empathize with her clients and understand their difficulties has been one of the reasons for her success. “There’s no question that my focus on my niche has made me successful,” Gumerove says, “and that I credit to my daughter.”
Hundreds in Brookhaven protest proposed state cuts October 27, 2009 By JAMES T. MADORE
Nearly 500 people showed upTuesday for a hearing in Brookhaven on Gov. David A. Patterson's proposed budget cuts, many of them asking for schools and services for the disabled to be spared. At the start of the 5 1/2-hour session, two-thirds of the audience were disabled people and their advocates. Paterson wants to eliminate $65 million for group homes and education programs that help the disabled live independently.
The cut would help close this year's $3 billion deficit and reduce next year's by $2 billion. The hearing at BrookhavenTown Hall was the second held by the State Senate to gauge public reaction to midyear trims to the 2009-10 budget, which totals $131.8 billion.
Saundra Gumerove of AHRC Nassau, which helps 3,000 developmentally disabled people, said the governor's plan would precipitate "a human tragedy." She and others predicted the shuttering of group homes, day care programs and other services would mean some disabled would be forced to live in state institutions.
"The governor's proposals put our children at risk," she said, gesturing to her 28-year daughter, Lauren Bernstein, who lives in a group home. "We don't want to go back to the age of institutions, where people were simply warehoused."
The reduction in state money would result in the loss of about $160 million in federal aid. Sen. Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), chairman of the powerful Finance Committee, responded that Paterson's deficit reduction plan was just "one approach; we believe there are several."
Long Island Business News Competitive intelligence
By Claude Solnik Friday, September 5, 2008
Benchmarking reveals industry best practices
Companies get information about other firms’ inner workings from the Internet and find out where they stand in their industry from surveys.
Ron Wood, president of Ron Wood Public Relations in Port Jefferson Station, said companies can implement best practices identified by experts or through their own experience.
His firm polished its e-mail marketing campaigns by looking over e-mails he found effective and listening to experts on the subject. “We have learned that certain things can’t be done,” Wood said. “You can’t use the word ‘free’ in a subject line, because it won’t get through the spam filter.”
Long Island Business News And spam for all By Claude Solnik Friday, August 17, 2007 High cost of war
Ferris Research, a San Francisco-based analyst focused on virtual messaging, projects the global cost of spam in 2007 to be $100 billion, including $35 billion stateside. After computers at the Long Island Chapter of Advancing Productivity, Innovation and Competitive Success (APICS) were flooded with spam, the chapter stopped listing e-mail addresses on its Web site and instead posted contact forms.
“It cuts down spam,” said Ron Wood, president of Port Jefferson Station-based Ron Wood Public Relations, which works with APIC. “The spiders that the spammers use can’t pick up the e-mail address if there’s a contact page.”
Long Island Business News Marketing on a shoestring, from networks to networking By Claude Solnik Friday, November 24, 2006 Few things benefit a bottom line like good, old-fashioned networking. Meeting people, distributing promotional items and targeting customers with mailings can all help a firm grow.
“Networking is really vital for any size company wanting to do business,” said Ron Wood, president of Ron Wood Public Relations in Port Jefferson Station. “Pressing the flesh. Allow people to see you, observe you, talk to you, listen to you, see you with others and get to know what you’re about.”
Long Island Business News How to handle public relations disasters By Claude Solnik Friday, March 31, 2006
“Bad things happen,” said Ron Wood, president of Port Jefferson Station-based Ron Wood Public Relations, who has advised firms on how to handle public relations meltdowns. “But they have to be handled with honesty and fast.”
Companies need to be proactive in preventing a small incident from turning into a big story. Wood said he helped stave off a potential public relations problem for a major oil company after an oil drum spilled in the East River, by having a helicopter fly reporters to the scene.
“They heard ‘oil spill’ and ‘big oil company’ and they thought it was Exxon Valdez,” Wood said. “It was a 55-gallon drum that punctured. Instead of it being a big story, it became no story. A local boat could spill that much waste.”
New York Times
What Vacation? That ringing Cellphone Is Yours!
August 1, 2004
By WARREN STRUGATCH Patrick Foy took his three daughters to the Disney park near Paris a couple of years ago. They had a ball, until what came to be called the BlackBerry Incident.
“We were standing on line for Splash Mountain when the cellphone on my BlackBerry rang,” recalled Mr. Foy, the chief executive of United Way of Long Island, who at the time was a lawyer practicing in Manhattan.
“My name is Pat, and I am addicted to my BlackBerry,” Mr. Foy said last week, only half joking.
Summer is still the prime time for taking off from work and escaping from the grind. But increasingly, that vacation may be sharply truncated. Few people manage two-week sojourns anymore, and the grind itself goes along, in the form of laptops, cell phones and hand-held electronics.
“What I believe is happening in society and business is that the traditional two-week vacation is under attack,” said Stuart R. Levine, an organizational consultant in Jericho and the author of “Six Fundamentals of Success,” published this spring by Doubleday, “Individuals do need to have a sense of renewal.”
But office culture is changing, he said, sending the message that work responsibilities trump the need for rest and recovery. Smaller staffs make delegation improbable, while the technology that allows 24-hour global communication and the instantaneous exchange of words, images and spreadsheets is widely available.
As a result, the phrase “I’m going on vacation” often precedes the phrase “I’ll be checking my messages.” “People are working very hard and showing much more flexibility to accommodate the needs of clients or employers,” Mr. Levine said, putting a positive spin on things. This is a reflection of business today.”
He is, however, an ambivalent apologist, since he had to cut short his own vacation, planned for August. Recently, he said, a client called asking him to attend a two-day meeting that was scheduled right in the middle of Mr. Levine’s long-planned family reunion.
With some frustration, he agreed to go to the meeting. The family vacation will proceed, he said, although he will not be there the whole time. “I’ll go out east for the weekend,” he said, referring to the family’s summer home in Amagansett. “Monday and Tuesday I’ll go back up-Island to work. Then I’ll go back out east.”
Accommodating clients whose needs won’t wait is a reality of doing business today, Mr. Levine said, and his own situation shows that you don’t necessarily have to choose the professional over the personal. “You can check your e-mails when your family has downtime, even if it means waking up earlier,” he said.
E-mail is less intrusive than a cell phone, of course. “You have the option of deciding how and when you’ll respond,” Mr. Levine said. “The phone is more insidious. When you get on the phone and talk for half an hour, it deflates the family’s spirit.”
That many people take technology along on their vacations does not surprise Robert McMillan a partner in Fishbein Badillo Wagner Harding, a Manhattan law firm with a branch in Melville. “It’s part of the business culture, and everybody does it,” he said. ”Everything today is instantaneous. It’s not good enough to have someone return your call that afternoon. People want to talk to you right now.”
That expectation shapes behavior, said Mr. McMillan, who is also a host of “Face Off,” a weekly public-affairs program on Thursday night on WLIW, Channel 21. “Executives don’t go anywhere anymore without their cell phones,” he said. “It’s an addiction, like golf. I have it myself.”
Ron Wood, who owns a public-relations agency in Port Jefferson Station, said he escapes for an annual winter vacation to a tropical climate, in part to clear his head for better strategic thinking. “Relaxation and reflecting are a must for my mental health,” he said in an e-mail message. But he remains tethered to the office, and he expects the same from his staff. “My cell is always on, my laptop within arm’s length,” he said. “E-mail is checked twice daily.”
Mr. Wood justified his behavior as expedient. “We get paid top dollar to provide opportunities and solutions, not to create chaos,” he said. “A cell conference call can turn a potential crisis into a gentle bump in the road.” Clients, he said, will not tolerate an “I was on vacation” excuse. “If we do not perform, my next vacation will be in a hot bath at home with my rubber ducky,” he said…
New York Times June 13, 2004
Wang Reinvents Himself on Speakers’ Circuit
By WARREN STRUGATCH
Charles B. Wang, who left Computer Associates under a cloud in November 2002, is, if anything, more in demand as a business speaker than ever before.
Mr. Wang, a founder of Computer Associates in Islandia, has not been charged with any wrongdoing, but a two-year federal criminal investigation of the company covers the period Mr. Wang was its chairman.
Robert Desmond, the owner of Aireco Real Estate in Hauppauge, who helped arrange Mr. Wang’s appearance on Tuesday at the monthly luncheon of the Hauppauge Industrial Association, said he had not paid close attention to the Computer Associates investigation and the issues involved. “Nothing has been proven yet,” Mr. Desmond said. “These are just accusations right now.”
Before Mr. Wang arrived for the luncheon at the Sheraton Long Island in Hauppauge, a crowd gathered at the door of the ballroom to great him. As he strode in out of the sunlight, men and women wearing small stick-on badges with their names and company affiliations pressed forward to introduce themselves.
“There are 150 people in there,” Ron Wood, a public relations man helping promote the luncheon, said excitedly. “We’re sold out.”
That Mr. Wang was forced out of the company he helped found, by disenchanted investors as much as by the specter of the investigations, is rarely brought up on the local speaking circuit. Here, in hotel ballrooms, catering halls and country clubs, Mr. Wang has successfully reinvented himself as a sports mogul and real estate developer.
Repeatedly, at charity events and business functions, Long Islanders have demonstrated that they are eager to hear whatever Mr. Wang has to tell them, and they consider him a motivational force and inspirational speaker. They have also shown a reluctance to ask Mr. Wang about Computer Associates and what happened there.
Long Island Business News Wood makes proofing push
By Claude Solnik Friday, April 2, 2004
Ron Wood Public Relations is a firm believer in at least one old adage - that the devil's in the details - and the company is doing something to make those details a little more manageable.
The Port Jefferson Station-based PR firm has created the Editorial Quality Assurance, or EQA, division, whose staff will be led by Sharon Cohen and will focus on proofreading and fact-checking marketing materials.
Web sites and e-mail blasts are sometimes rife with typos and other errors that can eat away at a PR-firm client's credibility, and that's what Ron Wood PR is looking to avoid, the company said.
"Misspelled names, wrong numbers and poorly written product descriptions could cost the client business," said Wood, president of the firm. "And reprints are expensive. Errors in Web copy, e-blasts and self-written columns are an immediate turnoff to prospects."
The firm is also bidding on proofing corporate reports and working on Web sites and brochures. The services also encompass editing and ghost writing.
"How would you feel if you were a company and you printed 10,000 brochures with typos?" Wood asked. "How much more are you going to read of the brochure?" See "Editorial Services" page for more information.
Newsday Monday, Oct. 20, 2003
INSIDE STORIES Promise to Unveil Mystery Man
By A.J. CARTER
The Hauppauge Industrial Association is trying to add to its 25th Anniversary Gala something not usually found at those events: suspense. And we're not talking about the unveiling of the group's new logo or the new slogan that's been chosen from 200 entries submitted by members, both of which are to be made public at the Thursday event.
The invitations to the festivities, as well as advertisement seeking people to buy tables, say the gala at the Sheraton Long Island offer the opportunity to "Meet the Founding Father of HIA Dr. Phillip Schneider." But who's Dr. Phillip Schneider? And how did he participate in the genesis of a group that traces its roots to a 1978 blackout that cost tenants of four adjacent industrial parks more than $1 million in lost revenue and overtime costs? A Newsday story at the time makes no mention of a Phillip Schneider, and our check of corporation records found none in Hauppauge that even had a Phillip Schneider as an officer.
Ron Wood, who's doing some of the publicity for the event, told us the best he could do through basic Internet searches was identify a Dr. Phillip Schneider, who is a Queens College professor listed as part of the speakers bureau for the Stuttering Foundation of America (stuttering being Schneider's area of medical expertise). But there's no indication that Schneider ever visited Hauppauge, let alone did business there.
Neither HIA president Ed Pruitt, nor outgoing executive director Marcy Tublisky, who is being honored, would provide any additional details. Jack Kulka, whom we always thought was the founder of the group and who is the only remaining founder still on its board, was no more forthcoming with details. Frankly, from looking at the we-know-something-you-don't-know smiles on their faces, we smell a rat. But we will say this: It is making us want to go.
Long Island Business News
HIA hits 25 running with public relations campaign
By Claude Solnik Friday, October 31, 2003 The Hauppauge Industrial Association has hired a trio of PR firms that combined to unveil a new logo and slogan and public relations campaign dubbed "going for the gold" to mark the business group's 25th anniversary.
The association hired Port Jefferson-based Ron Wood Public Relations, East Setauket-based Advertising Works and Commack-based Laura Wiletsky and Associates.
"We wanted the talents of all three," said Ed Pruitt, president of the group. "They bring different things to the table. There's an entire campaign based around our 25th anniversary."
Pruitt said the goal is to get the word out about the group across Long Island and grow membership. HIA has close to 1,000 members, most of whom are located in the Hauppauge Industrial Park.
"We believe HIA is a unique organization," Pruitt said. "We want to serve companies throughout the region."
Long Island Business News July 4, 2003 MARKETING Wood splinters off, returns to own show
By CLAUDE SOLNIK After leading Hauppauge-based Austin & Williams' public relations operations for nine months, Ron Wood has gone back to run his own firm, Ron Wood Public Relations, and signed his first client.
Sharon Victoria Cohen, who had worked in PR at Austin & Williams’ is working with Wood as communications director. Wood said the firm also works with a half dozen freelancers.
"Running my own business is very different than being part of the corporate climate of someone else's firm," said Wood, who runs the operation out of a home office in IslandPark. "There is no red tape."
While a small firm doesn't have the depth of resources of the bigger companies, Wood said "via strategic alliances," his firm can provide a wide range of additional services, such as advertising, marketing, sales training and Web design. Wood is no stranger to running his own show. He's run his own PR firm for about 15 of the past 20 years with a few intervals at local firms.
"I love what I do," he said, "and my children are grown, giving me plenty of to time to work."
The firm handles PR for Hauppauge-based ExecuTrain of Long Island, an information technology training and computer consulting company.
Wood said that the lower overhead also comes in handy as the firm ramps up.
"I enjoy working in my home office," said Wood. "Overlooking the bay, it's a peaceful place to work and there's no commute to the office."
In addition to running his firm, Wood also teaches television performance & talk show hosting and broadcast journalism at the Connecticut School of Broadcasting.
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