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Billy Joel Honors 9/11 Victims With Gov. Cuomo and N.Y.C. Firefighters

Billy Joel
John Moore, Getty Images

To honor the lives lost on Sept. 11, 2001, Billy Joel participated with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo and a group of firefighters in a motorcycle ride in Manhattan. The route they took — from a firehouse on W. 43rd St. down the West Side Highway to Ground Zero — followed the path taken by Rescue 1, which lost half of its members, on that day 12 years ago.

“It’s an honor,” Joel said. “I was at Ground Zero a few days after 9/11, and it was the worst thing I ever saw in my life. To be asked to do this is very moving.” The singer, whose lifelong love of motorcycles is well-known (he owns a custom shop in a town known as Oyster Bay, Long Island), rode a blue-and-white Drifter.

“[Joel is] the quintessential New York citizen who never forgot where he came from,” Cuomo, who rode a black Harley-Davidson, told the Daily News.

Accompanying the duo were the N.Y.C. Fire Riders, a motorcycle club comprised of past and present members of the New York Fire Department. The club was established in Queens in 1985 to, according to their website, “unite firefighters, have a good time and promote safe motorcycling.”

“They got hit hard,” Joel added. “These are all good men. It was a very, very sad day, and they lost a lot of people. It’s still an open wound.”

Next: 9/11 - Classic Rockers Look Back

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