A New York State Of Mind

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Governor Cuomo declares July 18 as Billy Joel Day

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo gives Billy Joel a proclaimation before his 100th concert performance at Madison Square Garden. (Photo by Kevin Coughlin/Office of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo)

Billy Joel sure was in a New York State of mind last week as Governor Andrew Cuomo designated July 18 as Billy Joel Day in commemoration of the Piano Man’s 100th performance at Madison Square Garden.

Joel’s love for New York is as big as the love the state’s residents have for him. The Hicksville native is more than a hometown hero; throughout his extensive career, Joel has won six Grammys, sold more than 150 million records and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999.

Before Cuomo presented the proclamation to Joel, he had some things to say about the performer and what he means to the state of New York as a whole.

“The 100th show. I mean it really is a breathtaking accomplishment when you think of it. But, I’m not surprised,” said Cuomo. “Billy is an international icon. You get tourists coming here from around the globe and it is a perfect attraction when you’re coming to New York. This town is one of the toughest audiences on the globe. And after 40 years, the same tough hometown crowd loves him. Why? Because there is an authenticity about Billy and his music.”

Jim Dolan, executive chairman of Madison Square Garden, shared some words as well.

“What Billy Joel has accomplished might possibly never be accomplished again in any of our lifetimes, it is that big,” Dolan said.

Even though the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee has been touring all over the world for many years, he never forgot about his home, which Cuomo did not hesitate to mention.

“He has always been there for New York, whether it’s after 9/11, whether it’s after Hurricane Sandy, whether it’s helping to keep the environment clean, whether it’s fighting breast cancer—whenever New York has asked, Billy has been there. So we like to say I love New York is the New York icon. The icon for today would be New York loves Billy Joel,” Cuomo said.

As Joel took to the podium, he opened his statement with a story of an experience he had at Madison Square Garden and shared his love for the arena.

“I remember being at [Madison Square Garden] almost five years ago, when it was announced that we were going to have a residency here. I didn’t really understand what that meant at that moment, then I realized later that we were like a sports team, the Knicks, the Rangers,” said Joel. “It was a little overwhelming when I realized what it meant. I’m from New York, I’m from the Bronx, I grew up on Long Island so this is my venue Madison Square Garden, and fortunately for me, Madison Square Garden is a world venue.”

After Joel exchanged a firm handshake with Cuomo, Joel received his framed proclamation, officially naming July 18 Billy Joel Day. Later that evening, the New York legend sold out Madison Square Garden with a surprise appearance from Bruce Springsteen.

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