01 June 2008

Carroll Gardens: Pool Hall Canyon

I got into a conversation in Carroll Park with an old man who said he had grown up on First Place between Court and Clinton Streets in Carroll Gardens, Brooklyn. He said he had basically grown up in the park. I inquired weather it had changed much in the past 50 years, and he answered that it was pretty much the same.

He then proceeded to tell me how he had typically spent his days back then, and that was in playing pool. There was a pool hall on the second floor of a building at Court and Union Streets. I assume he meant the present home of the Albee Dance Studio. He said there was also a pool hall where Court Street Pastries now stands.

I mentioned that I had learned that the Italian restaurant Casa Rosa, at the corner of Court and Carroll, has also once been a pool hall. He confirmed that. "When they closed I bought one of the tables from them," he said. "I got it for $100. It was a nice one, with small pockets."

"In the old days, women were not allowed in the pool halls. Do you know ESPN?" he continued. I nodded. "You ever seen some of them women pool players. They're knockouts. I saw one of them leaning over a table on TV, and I said to my wife, 'Holy crap, will ya look at that?' She said to me, 'Yeah, well you aren't exactly what I bargained for, either.'"

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