Tom Verni helps lead weekly Classic Car Meet-ups in the village
1. What do you love most about living in Westbury?
I was born and raised in West Babylon. During my near 22-year tenure with the NYPD I lived mostly in Queens and Manhattan. Towards the end of my police career, my spouse and I chose to move to Westbury in July of 2013. What we love most about Westbury is the fact that it is walkable to the LIRR and to many eateries and shops, the diversity of the area, and the local leadership which runs a fiscally sound ship and is looking to take the village to the next level with the onset of the DRI grant from NY State.
2. You lead the Westbury Classic Car Meet-up. What made you want to start that in the community?
Before I was appointed by the mayor to the Westbury BID [Business Improvement District], I suggested we try something that a few other towns have done which is to start a classic car “cruise night.” The cars don’t necessarily cruise around but come to a location and park so they can meet with other like-minded hobbyists and check out each others’ cars. This naturally draws the public to stop and look at them as well. During the time people are congregating (which is around dinner time), people will venture into the village and partake in the fine number of eateries the village has to offer, which also helps out local business for a nice shot in the arm during the midweek. This year we switched to Thursday nights to coincide with the Westbury Arts Council’s summer concert series, so now people get two great free events in one night.
3. What are your favorite places to spend time in Westbury?
We have seen a number of shows and bands at the Space at Westbury. The tickets to shows are very reasonable and there is a great wealth of talent that comes through that venue. Any event the Arts Council puts on is always a good time. Nana’s Ice Cream shop is a hip place to be in town while enjoying a number of great offerings they have and of course the classic standbys like Cafe Gino’s, Mediterranean Kebab, Kabul Kebab and Maria’s Bakery are all still as good as ever.
4. What are your hobbies?
Classic cars, gardening, bike riding, bowling and enjoying what the village has to offer.
5. What’s your favorite TV show?
Any of the Star Trek TV shows or movies are my favorite, as well as The Walking Dead and anything on HGTV or classic game show networks.
6. What do you do for a living and what made you pursue that line of work?
I am a retired detective where I spent nearly 22 years with the NYPD retiring at the end of 2013. Now I have my own company, Tom Verni LLC, where I do law enforcement and media consulting which consists of conducting trainings locally and nationwide and also an occasional appearance on CNN, HLN, Fox News or local New York stations regarding high profile police/law enforcement-related incidents. I also recently started working part time with Signature Premier Properties as a real estate agent.
7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Leave this place (whatever place that is) in better shape than what you found it. Whether it is your home, your school, workplace, town or just humanity in general. There are enough people in the world willing to watch the earth burn so it’s important to be a force to counteract that and help others.
8. Who had the biggest influence on your life?
There have been many. My parents, my grandparents, a few select school teachers, a number of police officers and my spouse, Joe Moran, for sure. I have been fortunate to have been in the company of some amazing people who have inspired me to always strive to be a better human. While I have failed many times, I’d like to think I’ve succeeded more then not.
9. What is one thing you can’t live without?
10. What is one cause you feel passionate about?
I am a huge advocate of equality for all. Regardless who you are, what gender you identify as, who you build a life with, what color you are, who you pray to (or don’t), what your economic status is, what your political affiliation is, etc., everyone deserves the right to be treated equally and not as a second class citizen. For some, they may say that is a politically correct answer but for me it’s at the core of my values and it’s the humane thing to do more than anything else.
Know someone who should be featured in an upcoming Neighborhood Q&A? Let us know by emailing editor Betsy Abraham at firstname.lastname@example.org.