Billy Crystal pays Long Beach a visit

City uses actor’s donation for improvements at Ice Arena


Long Beach’s most famous former resident, actor and comedian Billy Crystal, visited his hometown last weekend and posted a photo of the new boardwalk on Twitter.

On April 5, Crystal tweeted, “Beautiful rebuilt boardwalk in Long Beach, NY. On r way back!”

A day earlier, Crystal appeared on the “Late Show with David Letterman,” in part to promote his new HBO comedy special, “Billy Crystal 700 Sundays,” which focuses largely on his upbringing in Long Beach and is set to premiere on April 19 at 9 p.m.

The stage adaptation of “700 Sundays” is based on an autobiography written by Crystal, and the title refers to the number of Sundays he shared with his father, Jack, who died when Crystal was 15. The one-man show won a Tony Award in 2005 and last year, Crystal launched a 54-performance revival at the Imperial Theatre, where HBO filmed the January 3-4 performances.

Crystal’s visit came less than a week after the City Council approved the purchase of a new sports flooring system for the city’s Ice Arena through a donation made by Crystal and his wife, Janice.

“It is through a very generous donation made by Billy and Janice Crystal — and in fact, this item was one of their top priorities that they were really excited about — that the city is purchasing this multi-purpose ice arena floor covering system to convert the ice arena floor for different recreation and community events,” City Manager Jack Schnirman said.

The city received three bids for the work, and selected the lowest responsible bidder, Signature Systems Group of Manhattan, to convert the ice arena floor for multi-purpose uses, recreation events and community events with approximately 17,000 square feet of event Deck Ice Cover System — which converts any ice arena surface into a multi-use, multi-purpose facility, while preserving the integrity of the ice surface below — at a cost of $72,400.

“It’s all from one donation,” Schnirman said of the funding for the project. “There’s a variety of different projects that it is funding throughout the city.”

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