NEWSDAY: Ten Questions Interview with Wilbur Breslin
TEN QUESTIONS: Wilbur Breslin / Chief executive, Breslin Realty of Garden City
By Charles V. Zehren
Q: What recent accomplishment are you most proud of?
A: That’ easy. I’m most proud of the fact that I’m still developing 2,000 acres out in Yaphank. I bought that land to build into a shopping center back in 1972.
Q: What are some of the biggest changes taking place in doing business on Long Island?
A: Technology. Everything in my business is much faster and more precise. I’m facing new problems having to come up with more information in a more sophisticated manner on developments that are under way.
Q: What personal technology do you use?
A: Well, I’m 74 years old, so I’m still learning how to use everything. But I do have a fax in my car-which is really important-and three cell phones that are working all the time.
Q: Is the fast pace making doing business on Long Island better or worse?
A: It’s a big plus. Sure, I find myself making mistakes that I normally wouldn’t make. If I had overnight to think about a decision, instead of having to send information in an instant, I probably would have avoided some problems.
Q: Still playing tennis?
A: As much as I can. I also like to swim and boat. That’s what I do. In the winter, I like to spend time down in the islands and Mexico.
Q: What do you like best about living on Long Island?
A: The open space. Come on, stop laughing. I mean it! Every project that we do is designed with open space. Look, my wife loves Manhattan. I hate it. Open space on Long Island is good. Great beaches. Lovely areas-at least six months out of the year.
Q: I thought you were a city kid?
A: Well, my family moved to Hempstead when I was nine and I’ve been here since.
Q: What have you been watching on TV lately?
A: The recent PBS series on the history of jazz. When I was a kid, in the 1940s, after the war, I played jazz professionally. Clarinet, tenor sax and
bass fiddle. We played in clubs on Long Island, Manhattan, New Jersey. I personally knew a lot of the musicians who were featured. It was very nostalgic. When I graduated from high school, I was making so much money playing that I didn’t go to college. Big mistake.
Q: What would you like to see happen most on Long Island?
A: I would like to see the government of Long Island start to do what is right for Long Island instead of what is right for them politically.
Q: What are the chances of that happening?
A: With zero being no chance and 10 being positive? .001.