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Antiques Dealer Featured in Energy Drink Commercial

By Patrick Hedlund | August 16, 2011 11:49am

LOWER EAST SIDE — Longtime antiques dealer Billy Leroy has gone from hawking exotic flea-market finds to energy drinks.

The cigar-chomping purveyor — who was accused last year of selling stolen subway signs before having the charges dropped and most of his signs returned — is featured in a new ad for the caffeinated beverage XL Energy Drink. In it, he's seen working at his makeshift East Houston Street shop Billy's Antiques & Props.

"Some people say I’m a junk man," Leroy says in the nearly 80-second spot, posted online Monday. "But from the darkest hideousness comes greatness."

Leroy is no stranger to cameras, as he played a fictional version of himself in last year's independent feature "Dirty Old Town," and also had his shop featured in numerous news segments.

The commercial came about after XL agreed to sponsor screenings of "Dirty Old Town" in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and the same crew that directed the film also shot the ad.

The black-and-white commercial offers a snapshot of a day in Leroy's life, showing him haggling with customers and dealing with the carnival of characters that find their way to his one-of-a-kind antiques market.

Leroy said he sent the finished product to his friend Michael Richards, aka Kramer from "Seinfeld," and received the actor/comedian's stamp of approval.

"The most important thing is to make people laugh," he added.

XL Energy Drink was founded in Poland in 2000 and the company boasts that 130 million cans of the beverage are consumed worldwide each year.