Should you be so unfortunate to regularly find yourself in Penn Station, you may be privy to some unusual sounds. No, those aren’t leaky pipes. They’re the pipes of one Billy Joel, once the resident crooner of Madison Square Garden, now singing to no one in a vacant arena ever since quarantine began.
“He doesn’t have much else going on,” says MSG janitor Marty Dabrowski. “You look at Bruce Springsteen, he’s spent the pandemic writing a new album, live streaming concerts from his home, just working nonstop.”
“But Billy hasn’t made music in almost thirty years. Doing show after show here was his life. We all used to joke, ‘he practically lives here!’ But I think one day he overheard us and thought that it sounded like a good idea.”
Another source close to Joel would neither confirm nor deny the piano man’s very literal residency at the Garden. They did, however, allude to the singer’s absolute hatred of commuting on the LIRR back and forth from his supposed Long Island home to Midtown Manhattan, and that secretly living in the walls, vents, and closets of the arena would be “certainly convenient”.
It appears that this living arrangement didn’t end when quarantine began; if anything, the situation solidified to permanency. A lighting technician, who is choosing to remain anonymous, said he first grew suspicious when packing up his office back in March.
“I heard some clambering noises, and then smack, like someone had hit their big bald head against the inside of a vent. The noise of pain that came next wasn’t so much an ‘ow!’ as it was an ‘ohh-OHH-ohh’, and I thought, ‘that sure does sound like “For the Longest Time”.’ I mean… I may be right, or I may be crazy. But there may just be a lunatic we’re looking for at MSG.”
It is unknown whether Joel is unwillingly stuck inside the world’s most famous arena, or if he’s made himself right at home. Either way, Dabrowski says New York should let the man live in peace. He still comes to the Garden every few days for maintenance, but when he noticed his lunches from home disappearing at work, he wasn’t alarmed. He started bringing extra.
“There’s this one closet I was hearing some lonely harmonica tunes from, so I figured that’s where he’s been sleeping. I’ll leave a bologna sandwich out there, and the next day it’ll be gone. I don’t bother him, and he stays outta the way. That’s New York, baby.”