“Light breaks where no sun shines;
Where no sea runs, the waters of the heart
Push in their tides”
New York City – In the warmly lit Foley’s NY on West 33rd, a spirit of generosity rose up Thursday night.
In the hopes of raising money for victims of Hurricane Sandy, the idea for the benefit came about when it felt like more could be done. The ‘Irish Bar with the Baseball Attitude’ (and memorabilia to prove it) started putting out the call.
“After the devastation of Sandy, it’s like, ‘What can we do?’”, said Foley’s owner Shawn Clancy, a native of Ireland (impossible to miss) and a New Yorker for the past fifteen years. “Initially we got involved with a lot of different charities. Getting whatever donations we could get…shirts, socks. You don’t think about a pair of socks, you know? We donated money. But then it was just…what more can we do?”
The effort was also a personal one. Three of his staff are currently homeless, Clancy said.
And so began the planning and alerting everyone that, as Clancy said,‘we’re having a party on the 15th.’ Getting baseball players involved seemed a natural part of that idea. And with their ties to former players and local celebrities, the idea came together quickly.
They reached out to former Yankees player David Cone via Twitter, as well as former Mets player and current White Sox third base coach Joe McEwing. Newscasters Duke Castiglione, of ‘Fox Five, and Steve Lacy, of ‘Good Day’also got on board and guest bartended.
To the thrill of the crowd and flashing bulbs, David Cone stepped behind the bar and served drinks, followed by McEwing. Beforehand, McEwing wasn’t so sure his outing would be a success.
“I’ve never done it before,” he said, grinning. “But errors are ok. Hopefully, I’ll only make a few.”
Former pitcher Cone has a strong connection with New York baseball. He pitched for the Mets from 1987-1992 and for the Yankees from 1995-2000. He pitched the 16th perfect game in MLB history with the Yankees. McEwing was an outfielder for the Mets from 2000-2004 where he earned the nickname ‘Super Joe’ for his versatility to play all outfield positions. In his post-playing career he was named Manager of the Year in 2009 for the Winston Salem Dash.
McEwing’s ties to New York remain strong, as does his feeling toward the city and the people.
“I have so many great memories of the city playing in New York for five years. And being through 9/11 and being able to come back and help those devastated, I jumped at the chance,” said McEwing.
Former Yankees player Cecil Fielder also put in an appearance and happily mingled with excited guests and joining Cone behind the bar.
“I’m lucky enough to have friends in the media. And friends in baseball,” Clancy said.
Castiglione has a rich history with Clancy and Foley’s and was a bridge to bring Lacy into the mix.
“Shawn has known Duke for the longest time and told him that he was putting together a fundraiser for Sandy victims,” said John Mooney of Over The Moon PR, which handled the event. “Duke also mentioned bringing in Steve. He mentioned it on-air and that promo helped.”
The event was also promoted on Twitter, putting the message out daily to their almost 3,000 followers. By 7 PM on Thursday, they weren’t allowing any other patrons in, as a line formed outside the doors. All that promoting, work, and networking led to a glowing success.
In a cozy bar such as Foley’s is, it’s hard not to feel that even with strangers you are among friends.
Bonded by a common goal, we were.