View Full Version : Amsterdam East Closing

Steve Lipsky
05-25-2004, 10:40 AM
I read the previous articles on this, but just felt I had to post something myself on the closing of Amsterdam.

We got the news while in Vegas, and it was devastating. This poolroom was one of the main reasons I moved to NYC 6 years ago. Although I met my wife at Amsterdam West (which will remain open), we spent all of our time at the East Side club. It was no coincidence that 5 years ago we moved into an apartment across the street from it.

I met a whole crew of people there who have all changed my life for the better. I can honestly say I wouldn't know one of them if it were not for Amsterdam. These guys and gals are all among my closest friends now.

I got to watch, learn from, and play Ginky, Danny Barouty, Tony Robles, and Mika Immonen on a consistent basis. I can't begin to guess the effects these guys have had on my game over the years, nor would I want to try.

As for the room itself, and the way it was run, I can't say enough. It was a player's room, through and through. The music was loud, to be sure, and Friday and Saturday nights were a little "date"-ish, but on the whole, this was the place to go for serious games. The tables were spaced out nicely, and the managers would usually look to put the players on isolated tables until the room was so full they had to put someone next to you.

They had a professionally-designed high run board, which was both a tribute to a true New York game, 14.1., as well as a nice piece of history (names, dates, and short descriptions of the circumstances). There were several hall-of-famers on that board, as well as some future ones.

They supported the game, on both the amateur and professional level. The major regional tour in the area, the Tri-State Tour, practically lived at Amsterdam. Between both clubs, something like 1/3 of all tri-state tournaments were held at Amsterdam, with one every two weekends. As for professional tournaments, they were a huge supporter of both the women and men, and hosted competitions in both major disciplines, 9-ball and 14.1.

We (all the regulars) have lost a close friend, one which can't be replaced. Even though the West Side club is fairly close geographically, without a car it's not that easy to get to for us east-siders. Taking cabs each way every day is not realistic, and the bus doesn't even stop that close. I am afraid to say it, but the culture of the east-side club will be lost forever. The ambience of the west-side club will be changed too, as it will become more of a hybrid between the two rooms. I am sure there will be a bit of resentment along that end, as well, and I'm not sure I blame them for it. Just as the east-side regulars are losing something, so too will be the west-siders.

I think this is where I should leave it. So... Goodbye, Amsterdam East. I owe you dearly.

- Steve

05-25-2004, 01:14 PM
I definitely empathize,but, how the hell can someone build a building WITHOUT a heating system?
Tony and I ,sparred one day ,with our jackets on-not a good thing! /ccboard/images/graemlins/frown.gif

9 Ball Girl
05-25-2004, 02:16 PM
Hey Steve,

Although I wasn't a regular at the Amsterdam East club (nor the West for that matter), I'm going to miss it because on occasion I did go there, and was going there on Sundays as of late. I have some nice memories of some charity events that I used to go to when I was dating Tony, as well as rooting him on sitting from what I called the "sidelines" during TriState tourneys. I remember the first time I went there to watch Tony play in a 9 Ball tristate tourney. It was a Saturday afternoon, and I was meeting him over there. I remember walking in and the first person I saw was Frankie Hernandez, then followed by Ginky and Mika, etc. I was like Wow.

This is the more awe-ish part of my story. The first time that I went to play there, I remember walking in and thinking to myself, "Okay, this is not your normal pool room. You're playing in a room with serious players so put your cues together, and don't f*** up!" LOL That went through my head in the span of like 5 seconds! I'm not saying that I was intimidated but I felt, how would you say, for lack of a better word, honored I guess? I think I must've played the best pool of my life that day only 'cause I had this weird sort of pressure on myself. I wish I could find that again the next time I play! LOL Everynow and then my little eagle eyes would span the room and would always find myself staring at the paintings of the "heavy duty" players on the wall. You know, one of them looks like you! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gif And of course, I loved the power play. Oh well. I've always liked the East side location better than the West. I guess 'cause I have more memories there.

So, what are they going to do with the tables? Oh, and the paintings and portraits that are near the entrance?

05-25-2004, 05:06 PM
I use to play at amsterdameast on the weekends! the staff was very nice and also everyone else, I had joind the 9 ball league there 2 weeks ago and that's how I found out about it closing, so now I have to go to the westside where their is no parking at all and I come in from L.I. to play and to see my son on the weekend, but anyway I talked to Chris the one that's running the league and we talked about the east closing and if their looking for another space and he said if they could get a better rent then they had maybe but he told me they were paying 30,000 per month and just evening out so if they don't get a better deal that it'll never open another one there he also said that they could of fought the landloard but the lawyer fees would be to much!so off to the westside for me.

05-25-2004, 11:20 PM
Funny you should prefer parking on the East Side. I could never find a non-metered spot over there, and rarely played for less than a couple of hours, so meters were out. There's plenty of parking on some of the streets around AW, generally better on the other side of Broadway. But, I often drove in from Joisy, parked up near Columbia University, just above 116th (safe area to park) and took a quick subway hop to 82nd on the 1/9 line (if memory serves).

There are also a couple of parking garages right next to AW (not cheap). And budget travellers (wot you doin in Manhattan?) can take the LIRR to Penn station, and then the 1/9 subway line to 82/Bway.


05-26-2004, 08:48 PM
sorry to hear it i like that place even though i may have only been there maybe a dozen times over the last two years.
On lighter note i just got an invite to join their league. /ccboard/images/graemlins/smile.gif

You know what i bet Corner Billiards business will pick up now.

05-26-2004, 10:41 PM
Steve, I'm sorry to hear you and Gina are losing a place so important to you. You guys definitely have prime location to play there. It is unfortunate to lose such a great place. Even though I was only there once you could get the feeling that it was a players room. Good luck adjusting to a new place to play and don't forget the good times you had there.


05-26-2004, 10:48 PM
Well Steve. I don't think anyone could have said it better.
I was only at Amsterdam for 1 weekend, but that one time was more than enough to spoil me for good.
From the moment i walked in, i immediately felt at home with my surroundings. From the portraits of the players to reading the high run board. I knew that this was THE N.Y City room.
Never have i been in a room that made it so EASY to play.
I could only ever dream of having access to a facility like THAT ONE to practice at every day.
I can only say that my experience there that weekend was surreal. I eventually won the tournament, and i know for a fact that the room itself, its ambience....its personality, was in part responsible for the way i played.
The room will forever be a fond memory. Something i can look back on and smile about. She will be missed.


ps. GINA's got even up scrabble action ANY day! I've been doing my dictionary homework.

05-26-2004, 11:02 PM

I feel your pain. Over the years I've had rooms close so I know. You just have to let them pass and adjust, which I know you will. Now all I have is fond memories of special rooms and the one's to be special. Nice write up by the way. Just keep them in you heart. No one can ever change the future but you can always hold on to the past.


05-27-2004, 02:55 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote nAz:</font><hr> You know what i bet Corner Billiards business will pick up now. <hr /></blockquote>

Corner Billiards in NYC will be holding a qualifier for the World Pool Championship on June 12th and 13th, just a few weeks away.

Matchroom Sport has announced three open qualifiers for entry into the World Pool Championship which will be held July 10-18 in Taipei City, Taiwan.

The venues and dates for these qualifiers are:

House of Billiards, Weert, Netherlands, May 21st-23rd
Rileys American Pool Club, Victoria, London May 29th-30th
<font color="red">Corner Billards, New York City June 12th-13th</font color>

One spot in the World Pool Championship will be awarded to the winner of each qualifier, and this is ONLY WAY for aspiring pool players and/or UPA members who weren't afforded an opportunity to play at the invitation-only BCA Open to qualify for the WPC.

With only five confirmed tournaments (maybe only four) on the UPA Tour -- UPA Tour of 2004 (http://www.upatour.org/tour_schedule/sanction_schedule.htm)-- one of the five being the invitation-only BCA Open, it is IMPOSSIBLE for any UPA member who did not participate in the Vegas tourney to get enough points to qualify for monumental events such as the WPC.

Does anybody have any more information about Corner Billiards, phone number, address, and hotels near by?


05-27-2004, 03:11 AM
I am REALLY hurt by this. I knew about a week or so ago. However, it really hit home Monday night when I walked in expecting to play on my usually table (Table 1), only to find myself standing there looking at an empty space..Table 1 had been sold!!! While I am hurt by the closing, I am angry at the way they are doing it. Friday is the last night. Why not have a party for regulars and league players. Lock the doors, crank the music, put the balls on the tables, and open the bar until the bottles are empty!! Have a drawing for the pictures, posters, etc. As a matter of fact, if it was mine, I would even take the cloth off on one the tables, cut it into 2x2 squares and put them in frames for everyone. It would be a way to say THANK YOU for the years of patronage. Now I just feel like they are saying "we're closed....get out" And while I am at it, LET JUDE CLOSE THE DAMN PLACE. He is already gone!! I have tried the west side and just don't get that EAST feeling from it. Plus the constantly shaking floor on the left side of the room in ANNOYING and have thrown a lot of those tables out of line. I think WESTSIDE will now be PACKED, and have long wait time for a table. I do wish B'way Billiards would spend so money and fix the place up (Equipment wise). I will go to the westside from time to time but I will feel like a visitor instead of feeling home. I will miss Jude ATTEMPTING to sing over the PA. I will miss Gina walking by my table and saying "Nice shot, but now your hooked...What the hell were you thinking" Not to mention Mike with his ENDLESS bag of chocolate. Oh well, I guess memories are only memories because they are in the past..right? I will most likely end up at Corner a lot more. I may also finally see what Q Lounge is all about. Finally, to all of the staff, and the great people that I met, laughed with, and got my butt kicked by (you know who you are). I say......

THANK YOU!!!! (stay down and follow thru)

Rich R.
05-27-2004, 04:06 AM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote RailbirdJAM:</font><hr>
Does anybody have any more information about Corner Billiards, phone number, address, and hotels near by?
<hr /></blockquote>
Jen, here is there web site.

05-27-2004, 09:41 AM
Hi Jennie,

Corner Billiards is near Union Square. Depending on where you're staying, there are a few ways to get there.

1. Driving sucks. Parking is difficult.

2. If your coming in from NJ, it's easy to take a bus to Port Authority, then jump on the N/R or Q/W to Union Square, then walk about 4 blocks to Corner.

3. If you can't find a hotel within walking distance, get one near Herald Square or one along Lexington ave. That way it's easy to jump on a subway(N/R, Q/W or 4,5,6) to Union Square.

4. Bring sneakers /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif


05-27-2004, 12:20 PM
<blockquote><font class="small">Quote Eric.:</font><hr>Corner Billiards is near Union Square. Depending on where your staying, there are a few ways to get there ... Bring sneakers /ccboard/images/graemlins/tongue.gif<hr /></blockquote>

Thanks, Eric and Rich R., for providing the helpful information.

The website of Corner Billiards doesn't make mention of the WPC qualifier by Matchrooom Sport on their website.

Bravo to Matchroom Sport for providing this wonderful opportunity to American pool players to qualify and compete in the upcoming World Pool Championship.

It seems as if Matchroom Sport provides more assistance and opportunities to American pool players than the American men's organization. Thank you, Matchroom Sport!


Steve Lipsky
05-27-2004, 12:39 PM
Thanks to all who expressed their good wishes about this unfortunate turn of events.

It's a little eerie, because before I left for Vegas, I was going to write a post about how lucky I felt concerning this game. A few weeks ago, I was playing at Amsterdam and I just sort of stepped back and thought about everything for a moment. My wife was playing on another table, one of my best friends was somewhere else in the room, and Tony Robles was torturing the bejeezus out of me. And I just couldn't help but feel so lucky.

Here I was, no mortgage (yet), no kids (yet), virtually no responsibilities at all (lol), and my biggest problem was losing a pool match in the poolroom across the street from my apartment. Life was good.

I guess life is still mostly good. And I'm happy that, for whatever reason, I stepped back that day and appreciated what I had while I still had it.

- Steve

Pizza Bob
05-27-2004, 01:28 PM
tap, tap, tap

05-28-2004, 06:17 AM
I guess life is still mostly good <hr /></blockquote>
As a friend, the more I read what you write, the more I sense such sadness and the angrier I get at that landlord ,because he has no idea how he has affected people!
I,too, have always had fun at the East and you can always have those memories-who knows, maybe the West will become a phenomenon! /ccboard/images/graemlins/wink.gifThings happen for a reason!
Just know you have people who care about you, me being one of them ,and no one can take that away!

05-28-2004, 08:19 AM
It's really an unfortunate turn of events. Too bad the primary focus of landlords is not how they affect people.

I haven't played at Amsterdam (east or west) in years, I'm a Corner Billiards girl myself, but I'll be sad to see it go. Over the last few years, it seems like the number of player's rooms in NYC has continually decreased, and this closing seems like another nail in the coffin. After losing Chelsea Billiards and the Golden Q to the nightclub-hot spot trend, and even the various 24hr $3/hr joints disappearing, it seems like there's not much in the way of places to play for people who take the game seriously. Kind of seems like pool is in another downcycle, in NYC, anyway. Guess we'll have to wait for someone to make another "Hustler" sequel and reinvigorate things.


05-28-2004, 10:25 AM
My heart goes out to you (and your wife), Steve; I've had favored rooms close on me too. But I did see Greg Hunt in Vegas this spring, and he told me that poolroom business is off all over NYC. The one time I played at Amsterdam East, the opponent was my son and I played like The Maker (despite just having gotten off a plane). So my memories aren't nearly as deeply etched as yours - but I've probably got you when it comes to percentage! Best regards, GF

05-28-2004, 10:45 AM
I remember reading about that. /ccboard/images/graemlins/laugh.gif

05-29-2004, 10:47 AM
I only know one Abigail and she is a kick-butt pool player who stopped to pursue her education, so if this is you-How are you?
And your right, but its a shame that if a landlord wants you out, they have ways!
Hope to see ya soon!

06-04-2004, 03:04 PM
Thanks Fleece. Unfortunately, there were good business reasons for laying-off the staff immediately. I do admit, it would have been nice but at the same time, it's very understandable why they did it. When I got the news, the first thing I said to the owner was that I was more upset about the place closing than I was about my own job! The room had a strong following of regular customers, many of whom I may never see again.

However, it was a complicated situation. The construction in the building was a huge burdon for the room to take on. We were without heat this past winter BECAUSE of that construction and it was only going to get worse. The landlord is taking a risk but obviously, it's one he's willing to take.

I know nothing about the future plans of Amsterdam Billiards but I wouldn't be surprised if they opened another room on the Eastside one day. Yes, the Westside location has a serious task on their hands and as Steve pointed out, things will change for everyone. I hope in the end, the Eastsiders will eventually move over to the Westside.

You can find me there.