If Bay Ridge had a face, it could very well be that of Daniel J. Texeira.
Having spent the majority of his 65 years in this tight-knit, diverse southwest corner of Brooklyn, Texeira, affectionately known around his neighborhood as “Tex,” is unequivocally Bay Ridge through and through.
Texeira, an insurance broker with Lincoln Brokerage on Third Avenue, is also the current president of the Merchants of Third Avenue (MOTA), and boasts a rich and robust history with his community.
“I was born on 81st Street and Sixth Avenue, and spent my whole life living within a six-block area,” Texeira told Brooklyn Reporter. “I’ve been in the business of insurance for 43 years now, dealing with life insurance for around the first two decades of my career — and eventually I moved to Lincoln Brokerage on Bay Ridge Avenue in 1999.”
Texeira said that Lincoln is an ideal workplace, in that there are a lot of markets to which you have access, and a wide array of companies with which you can do business.
“Sixty percent of my business is auto and home, and 40 percent, commercial,” he said.
But ultimately, it’s about the people, Texeira pointed out, adding that it helps to know a lot of them.
“Years ago, in 1980, when I came into the insurance business, you basically made cold calls to businesses; you can’t really do that anymore,” he said. “You have to work on a referral basis — and once someone sees you do a good job for them, they refer you to other people.”
Texeira cited Steve Oliver and Jerry Morris, owners of Chadwick’s.
“They became my clients, and put my name out there, and it just built from there,” he said. “And now I work with a number of restaurants in the area, including Salty Dog, Pipin’s Pub, and Elia — in addition to eateries in Williamsburg and Greenpoint — and it just butterflied from there.”
Speaking to Texeira’s civic involvement in Bay Ridge, as president of MOTA, which he has been since last November, he described the task of promoting businesses along the thoroughfare as “a lot of hard work.”
“There are more than 400 businesses on Third Avenue,” explained Texeira. “This is one of the longest commercial corridors in the city, with the exception of Manhattan; we go from 67th Street all the way to Marine Avenue.”
But MOTA is more than just a merchant group. It’s also a civic organization focused on stabilizing the community and donating to and supporting other local community groups.
“In addition to running the summer strolls and the street festivals, we also host parades such as the Norwegian Day Parade, the Bay Ridge St. Patrick’s Day Parade, the Memorial Day Parade, and the Bay Ridge Ragamuffin Parade,” Texeira noted.
Texeira also previously served on the board of the Fifth Avenue Merchants Association.
“I was involved in that until around 2000, until the BID (Business Improvement District) came into play and took over,” he said.
“I guess it’s kind of a selfish thing, but that’s how you get business,” Texeira pointed out. “If you don’t get your name out there, you don’t meet people, and if you don’t meet people, you don’t get business. You have to be visible.”
Texeira is also no stranger to giving back to his community. In the 1990s, he served as a mentor, coaching children’s sports at St. Anselm in Bay Ridge. He later became vice president of youth activities there.
In addition, he is a member of the New York State Public Transportation Safety Board, a group responsible for the safety oversight of all public transportation systems operating in New York State that receive state transit operating assistance.
Asked what he likes most about Bay Ridge, Texeira said that “because it’s a small town, part of a big city, everybody knows everybody. I love working here. It’s a real friendly community. And the friends I have now I’ve had since my Cub Scout days — friends for 50 to 60 years!”
As for future plans, Texeira said he is nowhere near ready for the retirement life.
“I guess I’m just a hardworking guy, and I’m going to keep turning the crank,” he quipped, adding that his business is a tough one to retire from.
“All these people are your friends — and your neighbors — and you’d hate to leave them,” Texeira said.