Faces of Long Island celebrates the uniqueness of everyday Long Islanders. In their own words, they tell us about their life experiences, challenges and triumphs. Newsday launched this social media journey into the human experience to shine a light on the diverse people of this wonderful place we call home.

‘I did this because of my father. Now my grandchildren know that my father was Poppy. I’m Pop. Poppy had a car just like this.’

Oyster Bay

“It’s a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air two-door. It was called the Tri-Five era. Cars from those three years — ’55, ’56, ’57— are still very fashionable. This is the original motor, original transmission. I have a passion for it because my dad owned one. He bought a new one in 1955. Before I got my license, he said, ‘We’re selling the car’ because people only had one car per family. My mother didn’t drive. I said, ‘No, please!’ I always wanted one.

“Thirty years later, I was able to get this, and I have been working on it ever since. A good friend of mine had the car, moved to Florida with it, and did a lot of the work. I was always helping him with it. He was from Bethpage. He said it ran its course and asked if I wanted it. I said yes and continued building it. This was a 10-year project.

The car is just a throwback. All metal. No plastic. Real old American cars.

“I’m doing a lot of subtle things underneath and on the suspension. The car is just as beautiful underneath as it is on top. It’s a labor of love. My grandchildren now like changing the spark plugs with Grandpa and changing the oil with Grandpa. My kids don’t like it, but my grandchildren do. My wife enjoys that this is my girlfriend.

“It’s a throwback. I did this because of my father. Now my grandchildren know that my father was Poppy. I’m Pop. Poppy had a car just like this. The speaker is from a drive-in movie, and it does work. In fact, sometimes I bring a wireless mic and kids think the car talks — like the old days when they used to roller skate up to the window and bring the tray to the window and you’d order a hamburger and fries and watch a drive-in movie. The car is just a throwback. All metal. No plastic. Real old American cars.

“I drive the car about 800 miles a year. In the winter, it never comes out of the garage. All summer, I drive it around to car shows and parades. I did a Fourth of July parade. The firemen have me up there because it’s red and white.”

‘I had a vision of my grandfather over my bed saying, “Wake up.” I remember getting up and running outside and having a panic attack.’

Oyster Bay

“The first club I ever went to was on Long Island. I met a couple of friends who were promoters that started to rent out nightclubs. That’s how I was able to DJ. After 9/11, things changed so drastically in nightlife; nobody wanted to go to the city anymore.

“Around then, one night I saw Emeril Lagasse go ‘Bam!’ on TV. It made me realize how I could connect and lead people instead of DJing — by feeding them — and both my grandfathers were chefs. I’m named after my grandfather who was a chef.

“I went to the French Culinary Institute, which is hands down the most legendary culinary school in the world. I was able to learn from one of the greatest French chefs in the world, Jacques Pépin. He taught us a lot when it came to the journey of food.

“After school, I realized that I can’t be a chef. It’s very hard work. It’s very brutal. I got into a dark place until I had an epiphany. On a cold winter day, something came over to me, and it was a vision of my grandfather over my bed saying, ‘Wake up.’ He was like, ‘Get up, do something.’ I remember getting up and running outside and having a panic attack.

I want the world to believe in themselves.

“Lo and behold, something in my mind said, ‘Do sauces. Do your sauces and sell them, and do farmers markets.’ Once I figured that out, it was boom, boom, boom. I met someone who taught me how to make hummus, and it transitioned to making hummuses.

“We built it up. There were a lot of trials and tribulations. There were times that I went broke, but that’s what makes you a better man, I have come to realize. Then I was able to get to the bigger farmers markets on Long Island. Once I got into the Hamptons and Montauk, I met the right people. I learned about organic cooking.

“I applied to my licenses with the Department of Agriculture to be in the food-processing business. I got approved on the anniversary of my grandfather’s death. To me, that’s when who I am now was born.

“I feel that like my grandfather could have done a lot with his career in his life with being a chef, but he didn’t. I could’ve worked at a restaurant, but I took this road into the unknown.

“I want the world to believe in themselves. I want everyone to feel like beautiful stars. I always say, ‘The worst day of your life could be the best day of your life.’”