That time Billy Joel called me crazy

There was a time in my life when I would be at 99 percent of the protests that took place in NYC. People wanted me there because they liked me, of course, but also because I took and posted epic photos that (we told ourselves) advanced the cause.

This tale connects to the cause of animal rights. Here’s the scene from January 2014:

I stood with about eight other “activists” in front of a midtown building that housed hundreds of businesses — including the offices of Air France/KLM. We chose this location because, at the time, Air France/KLM was the only airline that participated in shipping primates to be used in lab experiments. A despicable, heinous practice.

We had props like stuffed monkeys in cages and fake blood spilled on the sidewalk. That said, there were no Air France/KLM markings on the building so passersby had no idea why we were there. The few who stopped to ask required a 10-minute dissertation to get them up to speed. This old Facebook event page offers some of the details of the pressure campaign.

In this particular instance, we were proving our dedication [sic] by standing in our spot, chanting — just a few days after a significant snowstorm. The plows had created massive piles of snow but that did not deter such brave souls as us. In fact, we caused enough of a ruckus that the building’s head of security came out to confront us.

This dude was clearly an ex-cop. He tried accusing us of a laundry list of transgressions but was wrong on every count. I finally pointed out that yes, there was a violation happening: The security bro was smoking next to a sign that warned people not to smoke within a certain distance from the entrance. The big shot threatened to call the cops and left.

Then it happened…

Billy Joel emerged from the building. Even in his winter coat and hat, he was recognizable. A large SUV pulled up for him and the driver came out to lend a hand.

Billy was taking the longest time to find a way past the mountains of snow to get into his car and was getting himself into a frustrated, New York state of mind. Meanwhile, the other “activists” didn’t notice him and continued chanting at well… a random building. ?

“Their suffering! (point at building) Your fault!”

“Their deaths! (point at building) Your fault!”

The Piano Man™ stopped and gazed at us with a look of wonder as his driver approached. “Grab my arm,” he said to the musical millionaire, “and we’ll cross right here.”

As I snapped a photo, Billy Joel replied to the driver: “Whatever, man, just get me the hell away from the crazies.”

Postscript: I’ve deleted so many of my “activist” photos over the years and now have ZERO photographic proof of this particular story. So, you’re just gonna have to trust my honesty. But damn, I wish I could see Billy Joel again and declare: “You may be right.”

Mickey Z. is the creator of a podcast called Post-Woke. You can subscribe here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. Spread the word. Read other articles by Mickey.