Senator Jack M. Martins (R-7th Senate District) announced that the New York State Senate passed legislation he sponsored to honor Hicksville native and world renowned musician Billy Joel. The legislation (S4101A) would designate the portion of Route 107 between Lenox Avenue and the Northern State Parkway in Hicksville as “Billy Joel Boulevard.”
“Billy Joel’s devotion to Long Island is unquestionable. Even as one of the most famous and successful entertainers in the world, he fully embraces his roots and treats being a Long Islander as a badge of pride. His charitable acts and efforts on behalf of Long Islanders are as legendary as his music. ‘Billy Joel Boulevard’ is a much deserved honor in recognition of his professional success and the many ways he has given back to his beloved Long Island,” said Senator Martins.
Billy Joel is one of music’s most popular and iconic entertainers. He has sold more than 150 million records and is a six-time Grammy award winner, a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honor, one of the top American cultural awards. He is also the first ever music franchise at Madison Square Garden and holds the record for longest run and most performances at “the world’s most famous arena.”
Though he is a world renowned musician, he has never forgotten his Long Island roots and still maintains a home and small business here. He performed as part of the “12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief” to help raise awareness and funds for the victims of Hurricane Sandy. He’s played local concerts to raise funds for local food banks to serve Long Islanders in need. When the Long Island High School for the Arts was in danger of closing, Billy Joel donated $1.5 million from his foundation to keep the school open.
This marks the third consecutive year that the Senate passed the legislation, and Governor Andrew Cuomo has previously expressed his support for the measure. However, some Assemblymembers oppose the bill moving forward in their house solely because Mr. Joel is still alive and they believe he should not receive this honor until after he dies.
“There are many examples of people who received similar honors during their lifetime. The Queensboro Bridge was renamed after former Mayor Ed Koch while he was still alive, and just last year New York City renamed one of its municipal buildings after former Mayor David Dinkins. I’m sure both men were very touched by these tributes and grateful to see them in person. Billy Joel deserves the same. It’s long past time for the Assembly to get on board and approve this legislation,” Senator Martins added.