North Shore Animal League America, in Port Washington, has named a room in its newly opened Bianca's Furry Friends Feline Adoption Center after longtime patron Billy Joel.
The Hicksville-raised music legend's Instagram account on Wednesday posted a photo of Joel, 70, holding a kitten, alongside radio star Howard Stern and his animal-advocate wife Beth Stern "in the 'Billy Joel' themed rooms dedicated in his honor" at the new facility built atop the League’s original structure.
"A true champion for animals, Billy donated the proceeds from his birthday concert at MSG to Bianca's Furry Friends," the post continued, referring to Joel's 65th-birthday show in May 2014 at Madison Square Garden. His friends the Sterns, who had spearheaded the campaign to expand the League's headquarters, were on hand at the concert, along other celebrity friends including Syosset-raised filmmaker Judd Apatow.
Joel, the Sterns, daytime talk-show host and food maven Rachael Ray and others had attended the ribbon-cutting of Bianca's Furry Friends — named in memory of the Sterns' deceased English bulldog — on Oct. 30. The facility opened to the public on Nov. 21. It was unclear what prompted the belated post. Joel's spokeswoman did not respond to a Newsday request for comment, and a League spokeswoman said she was unaware of the reason but was nonetheless "insanely grateful."
The Billy Joel Room is a cage-free, two-gallery space allowing adoptable cats and kittens to roam freely. Designed by cat-environment architect Mario Arbore of Melbourne, Florida's Square Paws, one gallery includes a custom-designed player piano performing Billy Joel songs. Additionally, cat beds resemble Fender-brand speakers, with the famed logo redone as "Feline." The other gallery, unofficially called the New York State of Mind Room, after the Joel song, contains cat furniture modeled after such landmarks as the Empire State Building and the Brooklyn Bridge, as well as a cutaway subway-car shelf.
A plaque in the room quotes from Joel's "And So It Goes" — "In every heart there is a room / A sanctuary safe and strong" — and dedicates it to Joel "in honor of his brilliance as an artist and his compassion as a human being. His generosity saves lives and heals hearts."
North Shore Animal League America representatives will be at PetCon NYC at Metropolitan Pavilion in Manhattan on Saturday with adoptable puppies.
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