NY-TROY-IRISH-GENSOC-L ArchivesArchiver > NY-TROY-IRISH-GENSOC > 2006-11 > 1164637506
From: "OBrien, David" <>
Subject: Re: [NY-TROY-IRISH-GENSOC] Legs Diamond
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2006 09:25:06 -0500
Like all of Kennedy's novels, Billy Phelan's Greatest Game is based on
historical events. Tim Hooley probably knows more about this than I do
but I believe that Dan O'Connell and his two brothers had only one son
and heir apparent among the three of them. He was kidnapped in the
30ies and held for ransom by a gang in Newark, NJ. The kidnappers had
help from Manny Streul,an O'Connell insider. The kidnappers were caught
and the son released unharmed. Streul did 25 years in federal prison
and only died a few years ago. In the novel, the McCall(O'Connell)
brothers' only son is kidnapped and Billy Phelan acts as a go-between.
[mailto:] On Behalf Of
Sent: Sunday, November 26, 2006 1:13 PM
Subject: Re: [NY-TROY-IRISH-GENSOC] Legs Diamond
>From Amazon.com :
BILLY PHELAN'S GREATEST GAME is the second in William Kennedy's
cycle of novels known as the Albany Trilogy. Billy Phelan, a slightly
poker player, pool hustler, and small-time bookie, moves through the
nighttime glare of a tough Depression-era town. A resourceful man full
Irish pluck, Billy works the fringes of Albany sporting life with his
particular style and private code of honor until he finds himself in
position of potential go-between in the kidnapping of a political
LEGS is the first part of the Albany Trilogy while the last is
You are absolutely correct about the publishing dates.
So for those interested - the best order to read all three is:
1. Billy Phelan
Here is a link I found during my google search that is very
Last night when I wrote my suggestion - I jumped too quickly-without
My father-jn-law, Bill Rowley, who died three years ago, worked with
Kennedy at the Knickerbocker News. For out-of-towners, the
was an afternoon paper that is no longer published. They also both
at SUNY Albany (Now UAlbany) in the English Department, where Bill
the founder of the journalism department. Bill & Bill were friends and
Kennedy spoke very kind words about my father-in-law at his memorial
I am lucky to have many of his books that are signed and dedicated to
father & mother-in-law by Bill Kennedy.
Bill Rowley has been mentioned on our site before when a publication of
was brought up in March of 2005.
He wrote an essay that was published in New York History, LII (
1971), " The Irish Aristocracy of Albany, 1798 - 1878".
His Ph.D. in History of American Civilization, Harvard University,
partially earned by his dissertation, "Albany: A Tale of Two Cities,
After his death, the children of Bill and Connie Rowley donated all of
papers including a copy of his dissertation to the Archives of UAlbany.
anyone wants to look for information in his papers the best person to
is Geoff Williams. Geoff came to Altamont during the months of
50 years of beloved accumulation, and brought the many boxes of papers
University himself. He also brought approximately 1,000 books from the
in Altamont to the Library and the archives of UAlbany. It was
to dismantle his den where lots of his books and papers were kept. My
husband Rick, is the only child in the area and he did most of the
Bill Kennedy also came out to Altamont and was loaned about 20 of Bill
Rowley's books, which are the property of the University but are
currently in Bill
Kennedy's office, in the same building as The Archives.
At the risk of being even more long-winded, I want to relate an
When the movie was being filmed the director requested pianos for the
in which "Helen" (Meryl Streep) fanaticizes that she is her beautiful
self again and sings and plays. My husband, Rick Rowley has been a
salesman for many years so they asked him if Clark Music could provide
the pianos. Then, they asked Rick if he knew of any special piano with
distinct finish that would really stand out in the scene. Rick
thought of a piano teacher friend to whom he had sold a very light
color (I think
it was maple) grand piano and the film company loved it and used it for
scene. They paid her $1,000.00 for the use of her piano besides of
handling the moving fees.
So - we did not get to go to the premiere, but after it was playing for
while, the piano owner and her husband treated us to go to dinner and to
the movie. When the scene came along showing the beautiful instrument,
yelled out - to the entire theatre - "THAT"S MY PIANO!"
So now I will finally end this discourse. Hoping all readers have had
Happy Thanksgiving weekend.
Helen Batters Rowley (Seeking information on the Batters family who
to Troy in 1864)
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