Written by Jill Nossa Friday, 07 June 2013 00:00
Oyster Bay’s own Billy Joel — and his bike shop — were featured on the History Channel’s “American Restoration” on May 28. In the episode, the crew is tasked with restoring a rare 1967 BSA 850 motorcycle, a bike that has sentimental value to the pop superstar.
Show host Rick Dale drove up to Joel’s garage on Audrey Avenue, noting the down-home charm of the town and the décor of the bike shop, 20th Century Cycles. His first impression of the shop, located in a former Ford Dealership, was that it is the exact type of shop he would have. He thought, “This guy is just like me.”
A longtime fan of Billy Joel’s music, Dale soon gained additional respect for the Piano Man’s knowledge of motorcycles; the shop has about 100. Not only was Dale impressed by the shop’s “cool motif,” he was surprised at how down-to-earth the pop star is.
“He was just a regular guy, the most normal celebrity I’ve ever met,” said Dale. “I really took to him.”
When Joel brought the bike to Dale at his garage in Las Vegas, the chrome was ruined, the motor was cracked, the wiring was inadequate and just about every part of it was damaged. Dale says one of the biggest challenges was matching the paint; it had to be bought from England.
Also, Dale worried a little when Joel said he had not been happy with a previous restoration, by someone else, but Dale needn’t have worried that he might not meet the singer’s expectations.
“I’ve seen Rick’s work and he does a great job,” Joel said when he dropped off his bike. “He does it the old fashioned way, he does it by hand…[and] with care.” Dale says in the end he says he was very happy with the restoration and the outcome was “a beautiful product.” Joel agreed.
“I didn’t really know what to expect,” said Joel on the show. “In my own head I’m still picturing the old bike, it was all beat up and dingy, and needed a lot of work. I was shocked. It actually looks better than the new bike!”
“That was huge for me,” says Dale. “It was a sheer honor and really meant a lot.” If this restoration had been inadequate, “it would’ve been a total failure.”
Dale spent two days in Oyster Bay and after driving across the country, says he found the town to be charming and loved all of its heritage and history, and the welcoming nature of the people to be refreshing.
“Oyster Bay is a hidden secret to the rest of the country,” he says.
Saturday, 07 December 2013 00:00
There’s no better way to get into the holiday spirit than with music, and critically acclaimed pianist Stan Wiest will be hosting a holiday sing-a-long at Locust Valley Library to help get everyone in the mood on Sunday, Dec. 8, from 2 to 4 p.m.
Wiest has been playing piano since he was 5 years old, and now, at age 69, has recorded his first CD; an album that has been so well-received, it is a top seller on Amazon.com. The talented pianist spent much of his early career traveling and says he played every supper club in Manhattan, while also working full time on a TV soap opera. To promote his album, his local circuit also includes a presentation at Forest Books in Glen Cove on Dec. 12.
About 30 years ago, Wiest stopped traveling to be with his wife and kids and has been running a music entertainment business in Fort Salonga. Now, with his new album, he’s back on the road, something he never expected to happen at this point in his life.
Friday, 06 December 2013 00:00
It was a cold night for the annual Menorah lighting at the Derby Hall Bandstand last Monday. The event, which is sponsored by the Oyster Bay Civic Association, was well attended though, with Oyster Bay Jewish Center’s Rabbi Marvin Demant leading the crowd in cheerful Chanukah songs.
“Every year we gather at the gazebo to celebrate the miracle of Chanukah,” said Rabbi Demant. “It is actually very special this year because Thanksgiving and Chanukah will overlap for the first time in almost 100 years.”
Thursday, 05 December 2013 00:00
With grit, determination and all-out teamwork, the Friends Academy Boys Varsity Soccer team completed their quest for a third state soccer championship, defeating a tough Lansing High School, 1-0, in the New York Class C State Championships.
Both teams kept the game at a tight 0-0, until 20 minutes into the second half, when a throw-in from senior Patrick Moodhe (Manhasset) connected with the head of senior Jon Nierenberg (Sands Point) for the game’s only goal.
Thursday, 28 November 2013 00:00
Nicole Giannetti entered her third cross country state meet in her career with one goal in mind: to place in the top 20 and earn an all-state medal. After finishing 38th in 2011 and 26th in 2010, the goal was definitely within her reach.
“She was ranked 25th according to one website, so we knew it was going to be close,” said Coach Kevin Cotter. “After looking at some of the times of her competitors, I told her she could potentially finish in the top 10. If she fell short, at least she would still remain in the top 20 and earn that elusive medal.”