City Manager Jack Schnirman honored Crystal when he revealed an artist’s rendering of a “bump out,” or circular pedestrian span with a gazebo, that will be constructed on the boardwalk at Neptune Boulevard, called “Billy’s Way.”
“Billy Crystal never forgot where he came from,” City Council President Scott Mandel said. “His overwhelming generosity is sincerely appreciated. The financial support that he is providing is simply remarkable.”
Crystal — whose new movie, the animated “Monsters University,” opened last Friday — last visited the area in December, when he held a special screening of his film “Parental Guidance” in Lynbrook for more than 1,000 Long Beach residents still reeling from the storm. He toured his hometown the day before the screening, and said it was chilling to see.
“When we had our screenings of ‘Parental Guidance’ in December, that was to raise smiles and make you feel a little bit better during the bleakest of times,” he said. “And I told a lot of you who were there that there will be more help on the way. Well, this is a significant step in that help on the way, and there’ll be more to come.”
Basketball Hall of Famer Nancy Lieberman, a two-time Olympian, a three-time All-American and a Far Rockaway native, joined Crystal to announce that her foundation was building two basketball courts at the Ice Arena.
“Billy and I were on the court today shooting, seeing where this court could go, and we’re going to make a lot of kids happy,” Lieberman said.
Crystal also filmed a commercial for Long Beach that will air this summer to promote the city — and he asked the crowd to be a part of it as extras. With residents still displaced and numerous businesses still working to reopen, many said that the commercial would help the city recover.
“[It] will go a long way in promoting Long Beach,” Mandel said. “Our event received worldwide media coverage, exposing Long Beach to countless individuals who are welcome to come to our beaches, shop in our stores and dine in our restaurants. We already know how phenomenal our city is, and Billy is helping us tell the rest of the world.”