It’s hard to imagine having trouble finding a parking spot at a Greenport marina on a cold December day, but when you combine the popular East End band Gene Casey and the Lone Sharks with a toy drive to benefit local kids, that’s going to happen.
For the past five years Billy’s by the Bay restaurant, located at the Brewers Yacht Yard in Greenport, has been the site of an annual Toys for Tots party hosted by Billy’s owner Billy Gremler.
Each year Gremler collects hundreds of toys to be distributed to local children; this year donations will be split between the Mattituck Lions Club and Cutchogue East Elementary School.
Gene Casey and bandmates Paul Scher on saxophone, Tony Palumbo on bass and Mike Sapienza on drums are a frequent summertime attraction at Billy’s and between Gremler’s loyal customers and Casey’s fan base, it was standing room only at the party.
Casey is happy to lend a hand for kids in need.
“We do a lot of benefits throughout the year and fundraisers all the time, and this is one we definitely believe in. The toys will go to East End families and that’s very special. I’ve lived here [on the North Fork] for about 12 years and it’s been good to me. I love the North Fork; this is more my style, more my speed,” said Casey.
“We played here at Billy’s all summer and this is just a great opportunity to have a little send-off to end the season.”
SoutholdLOCAL photos by Katharine Schroeder