After Bedding Yoko, Kissinger, Marla, Twisted Sister, Bette and Thousands of West Siders, 108-Year-Old Family Business Heads East

Judie and Bob Long.

By Joy Bergmann

In December, Long’s Bedding will end its 87-year run as West 72nd Street’s premier mattress emporium. But fret not, this fourth-generation family business will continue, albeit across Central Park in the wilds of the Upper East Side. “It’s going to be a beautiful showroom,” says Bob Long. “More space, more beds, bigger sizes to show. Gorgeous!”

Difficulties securing a new lease at 121 West 72nd spurred the search for alternatives. Nothing on the UWS exactly fit the bill. But a larger, 4,600-square-foot raw space at 70th and Third Avenue did. Though excited about the new opportunity, Long says the move is bittersweet. “I’m sure when the day comes on December 31st, it’s going to be difficult for me. It’s the only home I’ve known.”

Bedding has been a Long family vocation for over a century.

Advertisement for Max Long’s Harlem mattress business 

“My grandfather – a Polish immigrant – started the business in 1911 in Harlem as a mattress factory rebuilding and renovating mattresses. My father and uncle worked for him before breaking off and opening Long’s Bedding in 1932 on 72nd Street where Tip Top Shoes is.

In 1962 my father opened this store at this location. And I came here in 1963, fresh out of flunking out of the University of Wisconsin,” Long laughs.

His wife Judie joined the team in the early 80s. Daughter Terri – after graduating from college – came onboard about 18 years ago and is now the boss. “Three years ago I gave Terri the store; it’s not mine anymore,” Long says. “She is the finest, the best, hardest-working, most competent person I’ve ever had in the store.”

Bob Long with his father circa 1965

Judging by the dozens of signed celebrity headshots hanging around the shop, something akin to hero worship seems to follow the Longs. And why not? Their products bestow that illusive miracle to high-strung New Yorkers: a good night’s sleep.

Point to any framed picture and Bob Long will tell you a story.

James Taylor: “He comes in on a summer day wearing a straw hat and Hawaiian shirt. Bought a king size. We get husbands and wives. Carly Simon and him. Customers when they were married and when they were divorced.”

Mandy Patinkin: “Great guy. Been a customer for over 30 years. He sent over a special autographed picture for my granddaughter Olivia.”

John F. Kennedy, Jr.: “He came in when he was in law school and he was in law school a long time! He came in a NYU t-shirt. I didn’t know who he was until I was writing up the order.”

Hester Diamond: “She’s the mother of Beastie Boy Mike D. Lives on Central Park West with an art collection that’s unbelievable.”

Mick Jones from the rock band Foreigner: “He’s a good customer! He brings in a lot of people.”

Henry Kissinger: “Kissinger bought a bunch of beds for his home in Connecticut, but we had to sign an NDA not to reveal where it is.”

Marla Maples: “She bought a bed when she was having the affair with him, before it came out in newspapers. I guarantee you he slept on that bed. And it was a cheap one!”

Long looks around the room and smiles, “Most of them are really nice people.” However, he has recently re-arranged a few pictures in a special row that has a name spoken only amongst the staff. The constituents? Matt Lauer, Charlie Rose, Mike Tyson, Mario Batali and James Levine.

Kissinger, Beastie Boys, Twisted Sister & Foreigner together? Only at Long’s.

So, how is it that Long’s Bedding has survived when so many other mom & pop shops – especially in the highly consolidated mattress industry – have not? What’s their secret to success?

“Our reputation. Customers recommend us because we spend enough time with somebody to make sure they find the right thing,” says Long. “We have something for everyone. From low-priced options to the Relyon brand from England – the finest beds in the world and the only not-made-in-the-USA products we carry. There are more expensive beds, but none better.”

Experienced, specialized service is also a major differentiator for the company, he says. All six of their delivery drivers work only for Long’s and have been with the store for at least five, if not 20, years. Same story with the sales team. Joel’s the newbie with a mere seven years at Long’s, Ethan’s going on 20 and manager Bob Tunison started over two decades ago, left for other opportunities, came back, left again and has been back for three years.

“Our customers stay with us,” Long says. “People’s kids graduate from college and we ship to their first apartments in Boston, Los Angeles. We ship everywhere – Africa, London, Germany, France, Australia – everywhere.”

The family hopes their beloved West Side clientele will be happy to make the quick trip over to their future location at 1220 Third Avenue, whether they need a new mattress or a cup of coffee and conversation.

Bob Long will be there. At 75, he has no plans to retire. “I can still help my daughter out,” he says, and besides, “I go crazy when I’m not working.”

Message to Upper West Siders posted in Long’s Bedding store window.

HISTORY, OPEN/CLOSED | 13 comments | permalink
    1. Alan Goldberg says:

      Good luck, Long’s!
      I was worried when Sleepy’s, now Mattress Firm, moved in across the street but very happy to see Long’s outlived them. West Siders know best.

    2. Janice says:

      So glad Longs will be staying in business! Looking forward to checking out the new showroom.

    3. UWSHebrew says:

      prices were insane, they belong on the UES, where money is spent like water by hedge fund wives.

      • UWSer says:

        As always, your positivity is uplifting. Why stir debate about an old family business? If you don’t like the prices, don’t shop there.

    4. PedestrianJustice says:

      Such a pleasure hearing about a strong family business. Long may you continue to prosper, Longs!

    5. Jean Luke says:

      Seems like a very nice family business but I never went in there as there store was so ugly with awful lighting. Glad to see they survived the chain bed stores but a little investment in their store design would have been welcome. If they are charging premium pricing (and bed stores are notorious for having huge markups and being hard to cross-shop) they could have had a showroom that reflects better on their products. Hope they have a continued long successful run in their new location.

    6. Nannette Gonnella says:

      ⭐️Thank you Longs Bedding On West 72 Street for taking such good care of us over the many years! Great service, great product, delivery and people! Good luck with the new showroom! Nan & Carol 💜

    7. susan coleman says:

      If high prices mean high quality and wonderful good service….then Long’s is for me…..and for most people who enjoy spending their hard earned money wisely. The wonderful thing about living in NYC is that you have so many great choices–something for everyone! Some people can only be happy when they score a great bargain….and often “gladly” suffer the consequences of such purchases. As a senior citizen, I have learned “ya buy cheap, ya get cheap” and I would much rather pay a good retailer a decent price for a well made item and receive all the attention and care that usually accompanies such purchases. Thank you Longs—for having the courage and vision to invest your time, money and energy to set up shop on the east side. I think you will be most welcome and look forward to watching your business thrive over here. All the best to you.

    8. city girl says:

      I can vouch for Longs! Love the mattress we got a few months ago after several visits and consultation with Ethan. Really sorry they are not going to be so convientenely located on 72 street, but delighted with our purchase and thankful they will remain in the city!!

    9. Barbara Litt says:

      What a loss! Glad to know they’re still in the city, but what’s wrong with these landlords???

    10. Bronx Boy says:

      Very sorry to see them go, I loved having Long’s in the neighborhood. I bought a mattress there 10 years ago, it seemed a little pricey, but it was great then and it’s still as comfortable as the day it came. Salesman was helpful and walked me through all the different choices. I’ll visit them on the East Side next time I need a mattress, but I wish I didn’t have to.

    11. UWSSurfer says:

      A friend just bought a bed from Long’s Bedding and loved it. It was cheaper than Sleepy’s, higher quality, and delivered the very next day.

      Judie Long is a jewel!

    12. Lois Roos says:

      Congratulations Bob and Judie so happy you will be continuing even if you have to leave us on the westside.
      Always love your mattresses especially the one I now have.
      Lots of good luck,
      Lois