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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

If you missed the 6th annual champagne party at Coe Hall in Planting Fields, put it on your calendar for next year, because this is the party of the summer. A total of 175 guests attended, and many of them were in costume, a new addition to the popular champagne party. The always ebullient Henry Joyce, executive director of Planting Fields Foundation, greeted his guests with his date Daphne, a 3-month-old long haired Dachshund, who is a companion for his Great Dane, Lucy.

The 1907 Courthouse building is now known as the Marguerite and Joseph Suozzi Building, marked by a special ceremony held at the North Shore Historical Museum on Sunday, Aug. 3 to a packed house.

“It’s a great day for the Suozzi family and a great day for the museum. We are so grateful for the Suozzi family for this generous donation,” said Brian Mercadante, president of the museum.

Mercandante then gave some history on the building, which was built in 1907 by the Town of Oyster Bay, when Teddy Roosevelt was president and the Gold Coast was in its heyday. He described how it came to be a museum, explaining that Tom Suozzi came up with a plan for redevelopment during his term as mayor of Glen Cove in the 1990s.


Sports

Kevin Mercier, 39, of Oyster Bay, led a large contingent of local runners in the Lynne, Gartner, Dunne & Covello Sands Point Sprint 5 Kilometer Run, held on the grounds of Nassau County’s Sands Point Preserve on Saturday morning, Aug. 9. Mercier was the 18th finisher overall and third in the 35-39 age group with a time of  21 minutes, 7 seconds.

Other local runners winning awards at the Sands Point Preserve were Nicholas Cuddy of Oyster Bay, who earned first place honors in the Clydesdale Weight Division with a time of 25:53, Joanne Gallo of Oyster Bay, who  took home the first place award in the women’s 65-69 age group with a time of 28:11, and Anja Hermann of Oyster Bay, third place woman in the 20-24 age group, who finished in 28:47.

Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Park in Oyster Bay will once again be the site of the Long Island’s premiere multisport event – the 27th annual Runner’s Edge - Town of Oyster Bay Triathlon on Saturday, Aug. 23, and the Runner’s Edge – Town of Oyster Bay Junior Triathlon for youngsters ages 8-13 on Sunday, Aug. 24.

The Saturday main event is a “sprint” triathlon, which consists of a half-mile swim in Oyster Bay harbor, a one loop 15 kilometer bike ride over hill and dale through beautiful Oyster Bay, Oyster Bay Cove and Laurel Hollow, and a 5 kilometer run through Mill Neck and Brookville, “up” to Planting Fields Arboretum and “down”to the finish at back at  Roosevelt  Park.


Calendar

Bayville Car Show

Friday, Aug. 22

Junior Triathlon

Sunday, Aug. 24

Historic Church Service And Tour

Sunday, Aug. 24



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