By Ronald Hellman
I’m over at Donovan’s off Bell Boulevard, enjoying a Malbec and burger and good conversation with Gregg P. Sullivan and an intriguing woman of mystery who must for now remain nameless. We’re talking about the way Bayside used to be and what it will take to revitalize it. And if anyone can do it, Sullivan is the man.
For over 10 years, Sullivan has dedicated his time and talent to re-establish what he calls the “Bayside Brand.” Born, raised and educated in Bayside, Sullivan got involved in radio (NPR and WBAI), gravitated to television (news, sports, soap operas and “60 Minutes”), and eventually went west to Hollywood. Out there he became a film studio executive and worked on hundreds of feature films (“Forest Gump” and “Pulp Fiction,” for instance), and met dozens of A-list celebrities, so many that he can now drop names with the best of them.
And lots more.
Returning to Bayside to take care of his mother in the last years of her life, Sullivan is now a community activist on a passionate mission to bring arts, culture and business to his home neighborhood. Among other things, he established BaysideLiveTV, a website channel, and a companion SmartPhone app, to provide media coverage and communication skills for various local activities.
One such activity was a recent pop-up theater performance in an empty Bell Boulevard storefront (there are several) opposite the Bayside LIRR station. It was the venue for the one-man show “The Boy on the Bureau,” a stage documentary written and performed by another local guy, Lon Blais. For four evenings, Blais—who describes himself as “an actor, writer, director, teacher, life coach and long distance cyclist”—relived his experiences of growing up as one of nine siblings in a family that gives new meaning to the word “dysfunctional.” Reminiscent of the narrative skills of a Spalding Gray, Blais held his audience’s rapt attention. He plans to take the play on the road, with a possible November return engagement.
Sullivan is constantly on the lookout for ways to promote Bayside. He brought a couple of arts and crafts street fairs to the community, after an absence of 17 years, along with other street activities. He’s been active with the Bayside Village Business Improvement District and the Bayside High School Alumni Association. Among his current plans – a talent show.
A special personal goal for Sullivan is pet philanthropy. He has established PetFo
After leaving Donovan’s, we take a walk—Sullivan seems to know nearly everyone we run into. Yet he says he’s just your average guy next door, somebody who wants to make things happen: “Any help I can get from anybody and anybody I can help, that’s it for me”.
Contact Ron Hellman at RBHOF