David Brenner, aka "Sticks"
Claim to Fame:
Famous comedian and poolroom owner
Comedian David Brenner, probably best known for his many appearances on The Tonight Show starring Johnny Carson, was Johnny's most frequent guest during Carson's thirty years as host.
Brenner brought his lifetime love of pool from his hometown of Philadelphia to New York City. He created a fabulous pool hall and Manhattan hot spot as co-owner of Amsterdam Billiards.
Brenner's Magnificent Poolroom:
Celebrities including Andrew "Dice" Clay strutted their stuff at Amsterdam for its grand opening, and dozens of others including comedian Jon "That's The Ticket" Lovitz and Michael "The Ragman's Son" Douglas play there frequently. Billie Billings, one of America's top female players, shoots and teaches her pool students there also.
Perhaps best of all, Amsterdam leads America in hosting excellent pool league play. Many top Straight Pool players call Amsterdam home and the leagues there feature many hundreds of committed players from beginners to experts, who may compete in handicapped play on somewhat equal footing.
A Wild Idea Takes Flight:
Amsterdam in its original Manhattan home on the Upper West Side on Amsterdam Avenue (where else?) featured a back room available for private functions, with a unique table inside. Built specially from a custom design, its construction was almost entirely from transparent acrylic. One estimate placed the table's value at more than $25,000.
The fun part came when the balls slid along the ball returns after sinking. You could watch them roll below the playing surface!
What They'll Say 100 Years From Now:
David Brenner helped revive pool, creating New York pool chic at a time when pool had nearly disappeared from Manhattan.