Poolroom Closed after 52 years

Buckzapper

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
The poolroom in Binghamton, NY closed today after 52 years of play. Ballbusters, formerly The Pocket Billiard Lounge, was shut down by the Binghamton Fire Marshall for code violations. We believe this to be permanent, because to bring it into code and correct the violations would cost thousands.

First opened in 1963, this room had about 30 4 1/2 x 9s, a 3 cushion 5 x 10 and a few bar boxes, a dart league, grill and bar. It hosted the New York State 9 Ball tournament for many years and many women's tournaments as well when Florence Fuller operated it.

Players that played in here at times, include Efren Reyes, Mike Segal, Mike Lebron, Danny Diliberto, Alan Hopkins, Willie Masconi, Earl Strickland, Corey Deuel, Ray Martin, Jim Rempe, Dennis Hatch, Karen Coor, Steve Mizerak....and the list goes on.
Can you believe Efren played in a $5. 9 ball race with the local guys? He plays the same speed for $5 as he does for $5000.

I saw many good money matches over the years. Some lasted throughout the night and well into the next day.
I know people will ask how Florence is doing, so I'll answer ahead of time; just fine as far as I know. I haven't seen her in months.
 

Johnnyt

Burn all jump cues
Silver Member
The poolroom in Binghamton, NY closed today after 52 years of play. Ballbusters, formerly The Pocket Billiard Lounge, was shut down by the Binghamton Fire Marshall for code violations. We believe this to be permanent, because to bring it into code and correct the violations would cost thousands.

First opened in 1963, this room had about 30 4 1/2 x 9s, a 3 cushion 5 x 10 and a few bar boxes, a dart league, grill and bar. It hosted the New York State 9 Ball tournament for many years and many women's tournaments as well when Florence Fuller operated it.

Players that played in here at times, include Efren Reyes, Mike Segal, Mike Lebron, Danny Diliberto, Alan Hopkins, Willie Masconi, Earl Strickland, Corey Deuel, Ray Martin, Jim Rempe, Dennis Hatch, Karen Coor, Steve Mizerak....and the list goes on.
Can you believe Efren played in a $5. 9 ball race with the local guys? He plays the same speed for $5 as he does for $5000.

I saw many good money matches over the years. Some lasted throughout the night and well into the next day.
I know people will ask how Florence is doing, so I'll answer ahead of time; just fine as far as I know. I haven't seen her in months.

52 years...that's a lot of years. 1963 is the year I went in the Army. Very nice write up you gave. Always sorry to hear about any room closing, but this one had been around for over 50 years and had a lot of history over those years. Johnnyt
 

pt109

WO double hemlock
Gold Member
Silver Member
Damn, another piece of history gone.
Joe Tucker won a nice one in there....beat Dennis Hatch in the finals.

Mark Hatch, Dennis' uncle, got barred by Florence ( don't call me Flo ).....
...he showed up a while later with a beard and entered as Mark Bingheimer...
...he had a somewhat legal claim to that name as he was Greg Hatch's half brother.

I wish Florence good health, she was always nice to me.
 

doitforthegame

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Very sad. They were an excellent representative of what high level pool was all about. Florence was always nice to me when I had "All About Pool". The tournaments that she held always attracted the best. Not too many rooms left that went through two boom and bust of the game.

Bob
 

cardiac kid

Super Senior Member
Silver Member
Real sad post. Played there many, many times. Florence gave me my "cardiac kid" nickname after I finished second in an early nineties NYS 9 Ball Championship. Played six or seven consecutive hill-hill matches. After I retired, found little reason to return to Binghamton.

Miss Florence and the staff. Specially miss Cortese's Italian Restaurant on Robinson St. Spent many nights enjoying the terrific food. Both while on the job or playing at The Pocket Billiard Lounge. Florence's food wasn't bad either :thumbup: . If you see her, please say hello.

Incidentally, the table just as you go down the stairs from the front counter did an excellent job preparing me for the tables at the LV Cue Club. None of the floors around the tables are level. Used to have to bend way over to take the balls out of the tray at one end and break sidearm at the other as the floor was soooooo uneven.

Lyn
 

oldzilla

Accu-Stats Messenger
Silver Member
Damn, another piece of history gone.
Joe Tucker won a nice one in there....beat Dennis Hatch in the finals.

Mark Hatch, Dennis' uncle, got barred by Florence ( don't call me Flo ).....
...he showed up a while later with a beard and entered as Mark Bingheimer...
...he had a somewhat legal claim to that name as he was Greg Hatch's half brother.

I wish Florence good health, she was always nice to me.

Then there was me !
 

Nostroke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I met so many people in there from Mika to Caroline to Julie Ha and many more. Pretty good fresh breakfast too. Sorry to see it go!
 

BmoreMoney

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Sorry too hear another great place closing

Sounds to me kinda like another loss due to the higher rent syndrome. What I mean is did they have a long term lease 5yr or better? That area has been " up and coming " for a few years now. While im sure not always the case its been my experience those types of inspections usually stem from " a tip" as opposed to a random inspection. Many will cry with this assessment so what I mean is prob 90% when any kinda violations are found they give xxx amount of time to correct before reinspection.
 

cardiac kid

Super Senior Member
Silver Member
Sounds to me kinda like another loss due to the higher rent syndrome. What I mean is did they have a long term lease 5yr or better? That area has been " up and coming " for a few years now. While im sure not always the case its been my experience those types of inspections usually stem from " a tip" as opposed to a random inspection. Many will cry with this assessment so what I mean is prob 90% when any kinda violations are found they give xxx amount of time to correct before reinspection.

Obviously you never visited the room. In Rochester, it would have been closed twenty years ago for violations! This room was OLD. No conspiracy here.

Lyn
 

BmoreMoney

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Obviously you never visited the room. In Rochester, it would have been closed twenty years ago for violations! This room was OLD. No conspiracy here.

Lyn

Oh well, what do I know. Hopefully thats the case. Sad to see any pool room close, esp an old one.
 

DJSTEVEZ

Student of Human Moves
Silver Member
Always sad to hear a room close, especially a classic joint.
I know someone who might be interested in purchasing some of the tables. Does anyone know how to contact Florence?
 

Nostroke

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Obviously you never visited the room. In Rochester, it would have been closed twenty years ago for violations! This room was OLD. No conspiracy here.

Lyn

I believe it was built on an old landfill and it was sinking irregularly-In the tournament room, the foot of the table might be 2 inches higher than the head of the table, They were fairly level but you could see and feel the height difference.

Just about the whole town of Binghamton is blighted. Michael Kors is not waiting to move into the vacated space anytime soon. I havent been there in 10 years but i doubt things have changed much.
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I've been afraid of this for some years now. Sad day, to be sure. I spent many hours learning to play there and watched some great tournament/money games there over almost 25 years before I moved to South Carolina.
About the tables, Florence hasn't owned the place in years. The current owner is Chip Georgia, he may or may not be in the phone book.
Paul, the last I spoke with Alan, he was living in Hollywood, Florida. That was in 2011 and due to an iTunes burp I lost his number along with many others.
Cliff, I'll call Buck in a bit and let him know. Thanks for posting this, though I read it with mixed feelings:sorry:
 

Pushout

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
Is Allen Kiehl (spelling?) still around? Allen could play (70s).

Alan was the best to come out of that area, after Irving Crane, of course. Most people associate Crane with Rochester, NY but he actually had a room in Binghamton before he moved there. Oddly enough, I met a guy in his 70s here in SC who not only played there but took lessons from Crane and you could see it in the way he stood up to the table. I knew a lot of guys who played in Crane's room, most are dead, now.
 

Banikane

AzB Silver Member
Silver Member
I lived in that town for two years about eight years ago. Never heard of the place, would've spent a lot of time/$ if I had. That might hav been part of their problem!
 
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