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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

Drop by the Oyster Bay Historical Society’s Koenig Center, 20 Summit St., to see their newest exhibit, It’s Time for Tea. The juried art show features ceramic works of art related to tea and its accouterments, on display now through June 8. The work was created by the members of the Ceramic Media Group of the Long Island Craft Guild, and features a selection of both functional and sculptural pieces.

A special bonus at the show is “The Juror’s Corner,” a display of several on the miniature teapots made by renowned ceramist Fong Choo, who judged the show online by viewing jpegs. They demonstrate the breadth of possibility in his approach to the utilitarian shape.

Tundra, the arctic snowy owl, fixed her golden eyes upon me, clucked her beak, then turned her head, ready for her close-up. Two months earlier she was near death at LaGuardia Airport, emaciated with a broken wing, but was saved by a dedicated group of people called Volunteers for Wildlife. The organization located at Bailey Arboretum in Lattingtown houses not only the rehabilitation hospital for wildlife but has aviaries where the public can see the rescued birds.

Earlier this month at the Seawanhaka Yacht Club, 160 people arrived for the organization’s fundraising gala.


Sports

Muttontown resident and Kellenberg freshman Ceara Ann Conroy has been named an All-League athlete for Girls Winter Track. The title of All-League is awarded to athletes based on a vote of all the coaches in the NSCHSAA League. All of the Girls Winter Track coaches in the league vote based on the athletes performance during the season, and Conroy’s outstanding performance has earned her the title of All League this year.

The Girls Varsity Lacrosse program at Oyster Bay High School is just in its second year and already it is making a difference. Senior defender Danielle Maggi has committed to play Division III lacrosse at Albright College.

Last year Maggi was recognized as the “Most Improved Player,” and this year she is being recruited to play in college.

Maggi said, “We did very well in our first varsity season last year (12-2). This year we are 100 percent going for the conference. I’m excited we finally have a varsity team.”


Calendar

Women Minding Their Own Business

Thursday, April 24

Dance Concert

Friday, April 25

Harbor and Beach Cleanup

Saturday, April 26



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