Billy Joel with his mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel, attends a park...

Billy Joel with his mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel, attends a park dedication to him in Cold Spring Harbor July 17, 1991. Credit: Newsday / Thomas R. Koeniges

A Hicksville pizzeria frequented by a young Billy Joel when the music icon was growing up nearby will host a centennial birthday celebration for his late mother, Rosalind Nyman Joel, on Feb. 15 starting at noon.

DiMaggio's Pizzeria — which a representative for Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Joel confirms was a youthful haunt for the singer-songwriter and his mother — will offer music, free pizza and open-mic memories and tributes, said Sal Stile of Brookville, the recent new owner of the roughly 75-year-old establishment. He is naming one of his pizza dishes the Roz Pie in Rosalind Joel's honor.

Billy Joel is not involved, but he said in a statement to Newsday, "It's OK with me. I wish them much success."

"There'll be people speaking, the community sharing stories, an open forum — like a block party, like a street fair," said Stile. "We'll be giving free slices all day to people. Hey, it's a celebration. What do you do in a celebration? You eat!" While Stile said a friend of the Piano Man had told him Rosalind's preferred pizza was thick-crusted with red peppers, the performer's representative said it was "usually a regular pie with a thin crust." Informed of this in an interview, Stile said, "We'll make half and half."

"So many people have great memories of growing up and hanging out at the Village Green" where the pizza shop is located, said Joseph S. Saladino, supervisor of the Town of Oyster Bay, which encompasses Hicksville. Joel was among them, writing in his 1977 song "Scenes from an Italian Restaurant": "Do you remember those days hanging out / At the Village Green."

"It all comes together nicely to bring about a very special event to honor an incredible woman and one of our nation's best artists, and to recognize his connection to all Long Islanders," Saladino said. He plans to attend and speak, and has invited former Joel band-members Richie Cannata and Liberty DeVitto, whom he knows.

The Brooklyn-born Rosalind Joel, who divorced Billy's dad Howard in 1957, raised Billy and her adopted niece Judy as a single mother, doing clerical work for various businesses, and was involved in charitable endeavors including animal advocacy. She died July 13, 2014, at age 92. Billy Joel wrote his 1978 song "Rosalinda's Eyes" as a tribute to her.

In 2017 a building at the Long Island High School for the Arts — for which Billy Joel has been a benefactor — was renamed for the singer's mother. The Rosalind Joel Conservatory for Music and Theatre houses the performing arts programs at the Nassau BOCES school's Syosset campus.

DiMaggio's Pizzeria was founded under a different name by two brothers, one of whom, says Stile and a Hicksville municipal representative, was boxer Carmine Vingo, best known for a devastating injury suffered in a 1949 bout with future heavyweight champion Rocky Marciano. For the last roughly 40 years until Stile bought the shop, it was owned by Italian immigrant Francesco DiMaggio.

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