You may not know Mike Reilly's face, but you know Mike Reilly. The Eltingville man has more than 20,000 Facebook followers, making him the virtual mayor of that Staten Island neighborhood. NY1's Amanda Farinacci introduces us as our coverage of Staten Island week continues.
You may not know Eltingville resident Mike Reilly by face, but you probably know him by name.
"He's definitely a great resource for folks on the south shore," said City Councilman Joe Borelli of Staten Island. "Anytime there's helicopters over your house, you can go onto Mike Reilly's Facebook page. He usually has a good answer for you."
Plenty of answers, and plenty of followers.
The former NYPD lieutenant has 20,000 Facebook followers, and his page is a go-to site for all things Staten Island.
"I started a hobby posting traffic alerts and community alerts. And it's grown so large now," Reilly said.
The former NYPD lieutenant retired back in 2006, but his internet presence began after he started volunteering at his children's school. He's now the president of the Community Education Council, but his Facebook page reflects the wide array of issues he's asked to help with: traffic alerts, criminal activity and power outages, to name a few.
"I'm not saying that I'm some super researcher or anything like that. But sometimes, I do know where to look, and if I don't, I connect with someone that does," Reilly said.
Take this recent Facebook post, updating a power outage at Susan Wagner High School. One user says, "Thank you, Michael Reilly and Wagner parents! If it weren't for you guys I would not have known anything!"
"It's not like they're coming to an office and telling me, 'This is what's going on, can you help me?'" Reilly said. "My office is here. That's it."
That's why you'll never find him without his cellphone, and always searching for Wi-Fi.
He taps into a large network of community activists, elected officials, and former and current police friends to get answers for whatever his followers throw at him.
With his law enforcement background and his social media savvy, he now offers Internet safety classes at public schools.And he's recently started writing an online column for a borough parenting magazine, increasing his profile to make him the virtual mayor of Staten Island.