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A Restored Bike For Billy Joel

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.

News

This year you can expect to see the Freedom Schooner Amistad, Connecticut’s flagship, tied up on the Western Waterfront Pier at the Oyster Festival on Oct. 18 and 19. The ship is a Baltimore Clipper that is 129 feet in length and weighs 96 tons. Its home port is New Haven, Conn.

The tall ship visits ports worldwide, as an ambassador for friendship. It serves as a floating classroom, icon and monument to many souls that were broken or lost as the result of the transatlantic slave trade.

The original Amistad, which means friendship in Spanish, was made famous in 1839 when 53 African captives (men, women and children) transported from Havana revolted against their captors. The captives gained control of the ship under the leadership of Sengbe Pieh, later known as Joseph Cinque, who commanded the ship’s navigator to return them to Sierra Leone. Instead, the ship headed north, landing in Long Island, and was taken into custody by the United States Navy.

Diamond Fitness held its grand opening on Saturday, Sept. 6. Members of the Historic Oyster Bay-East Norwich Chamber of Commerce came out to meet Wendy Goldstein, her staff and her re-invented gym at 138 South St.

Goldstein said she was touched by the warmth of the people who came into the gym to welcome her, even before the official opening. “People came in to say hello, saying they had heard that the gym had changed hands. It warms my heart,” she said.

Goldstein attended a chamber meeting and is now a member. Nassau County Legislator Donald McKenzie helped Goldstein cut the red ribbon as chamber members Walter Imperatore and Michele Browner cheered the opening along with staff members and friends.


Sports

Football season is here and the Oyster Bay-Bayville Generals  held their opening day games on Sept. 14. Here are the results:

5 & 6 Peanuts:

The Peanuts opened the season vs. the Seaford Broncos and came out on the losing end of a hard fought game. The Lil Generals opened the game on offense and quarterback Rodney Hill, Jr. marched the offense down the field and completed the drive with a touchdown pass to Francesco Allocca. Yes, the Peanuts have a potent air attack with Hill Jr. going two for two for 26 yards. The defense played strong with Allocca leading the team in tackles with help on the defensive line from first-year players Dean Wolfe and Anthony Pelchuck.  

Former football coach and NFL player Bill Curry recently brought a wealth of experience, knowledge and history to a wide audience of student-athletes and coaches at Hofstra University for a lesson on diversity, tolerance and respect in high school athletics.

 

Director of the NYS PHSAA Sportsmanship Committee and Manhasset High School Athletic Director Jim Amen Jr. established the summit and invited Curry as keynote speaker.

Amen Jr. and Section VIII Executive Director Nina Van Erk introduced Curry to a crowd representing more than 37 local high schools.


Calendar

Movie: Godzilla

Thursday, Sept. 25

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Sept. 26

Plein Art Competition

Saturday, Sept. 27



Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com

The Eccentric Heiress Of ‘Empty Mansions’
Written by Mike Barry, MFBarry@optonline.net

Yellow Margarine And A Pitch For The Ages
Written by Michael A. Miller, mmillercolumn@gmail.com