A road running through Billy Joel's Long Island hometown may one day be named after the Piano Man, but some state lawmakers want the honor to be bestowed posthumously.
Legislation seeking to rename a quarter-mile stretch of state Route 107 in Hicksville "Billy Joel Boulevard" has stalled in the Assembly Transportation Committee for the second straight year.
"There are people who don't believe that someone should be honored while they're still alive," Sen. Jack Martins (R-Mineola), the bill's sponsor, said Saturday.
"I don't think it's political," he said. "I just think that philosophically there are different points of view."
Martins said Democrats on Long Island are solidly behind the measure, but other majority lawmakers from New York City and Rochester "don't want to do it."
Assemb. Deborah Glick, a Manhattan Democrat, told The Associated Press that the renaming of roads is "a posthumous honor. It's so future generations know about their contributions. Obviously people today are fully aware who Billy Joel is."
Martins countered that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle "lined up to vote" in favor of renaming the Queensboro Bridge for former New York City Mayor Ed Koch while he was alive.
"We recognize people in halls of fame while they're still alive," Martins said. "A guy who's won acclaim, multiple Grammies, sold 150 million records, a guy who is quintessentially identified as being from Long Island, where he grew up -- wouldn't it be great to name part of this road after him?"
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo, who has a close relationship with Joel and officiated his recent wedding, supports the bill.