This is how I can best describe what I personally witnessed last night.
On Saturday, 22 February 2014, I was present and represented the ISA at the Grand Opening of the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club in Brooklyn, New York. At 12 noon I was greeted with hugs and handshakes from none other than club owner, friend, fellow New Yorker and ISA World Champion Jonathan Schnapp.
I was hurriedly taken on a tour of the entire facility and this my second visit revealed an enormous amount of progress. Eight courts painted baby blue reminiscent of the roaring 1920´s ran vertically across the floor from the West to the East wall. Handmade turn-of-the-century wooden park benches were positioned at the ends of each court. An enormous mirrored and shelved wall from floor to ceiling and bar over 50 feet long adorned the East wall with stations for at least 4 bartenders. (see pic at top) A second bar a little shorter in length adorned the North wall with 2 more bartenders manning it. (Click on pix to expand) And the South wall had a huge door that opened to reveal the food service trucks that would be rotating in and out during the night. Throughout the main room over 100 tables and chairs were strategically positioned with the chairs being of a simple and common black and white poolside style. The bathrooms 4 in all although a little startling at first, pink in color with flamingos from one end to the other on the walls, actually grew on you as you perceived the environment to be an early American deco with a touch of Florida to honor the birthplace of Shuffleboard in this country. The first food truck served Belgian Waffles and it was replaced at about 6 PM by a truck serving various types of chic Lobster rolls and Lobster sandwiches.
Now on to the UNIMAGINABLE, UNBELIEVABLE AND UNPARALLELED part of this story.
At 2:00 pm all the years of preparation and anticipation by Jonathan and Ashley finally came to a head. Bartenders each in place, Tiny the 7-foot 320 pound Security Guard was in place at the entrance,Tim the General Manager was set behind the counter to begin assigning courts and equipment and waiters were standing guard ready to begin their customer service. Jonathan was rushing back and forth on his push scooter making all last minute preparations and I was standing center room jaw open in anticipation of the Tsunami that was about to overtake this club when Tiny finally stepped aside..
As the alarm sounded and the doors opened 200 anxious locals rushed in some heading directly to the bars and others to get a court and equipment. In the next few hours the club reached its maximum capacity of 300 and I kid you not, a line continued to form outside along the walls of the club and down the sidewalk with people waiting over 2 hours just to enter. Jonathan in an act of pure kindness went outside on numerous occasions to thank them all for coming and explained the situation but they insisted on waiting. Lest you forget, it was winter in NY and 35 degrees outside during the day and the lines continued to 00:30 hrs in the morning where temperature dropped to 29 degrees. Thus the Unbelievable.
The street and sidewalk view from outside the club as seen through the huge glass windows, strategically installed along the entire wall with yellow lanterns shedding light above the sidewalk, showed 300 people inside in various stages of entertainment, many lined the bars, some at tables laughing and partying with drinks in hand, others occupying each and every court shooting disks and trying to learn the game with the remainder of occupants lining the handrails trying to figure out what this game of shuffleboard is all about. Thus the Unimaginable.
And exactly where did I fit into all this festivity. Well as Jonathan greeted each new group of visitors who were assigned a court he gave his 3 minute basic rules briefing and presented myself as a `´Pro´´ and International President who was there to help them learn the game. With their various types of drinks adorned with fruits or local draft and exclusive beers served in Ball canning jars as cups, I placed a continental cue in their free hand, pointed them in the right direction and taught them shooting positions and basic strategies. Due to the enormous waitlist for courts each court could be occupied for a maximum of only one hour. Obviously when the list dwindled there would be no time limit but that not being the case that evening.
ALL and I do mean ALL of these visitors were young local neighborhood adults between 21 and 40 years old. I was indeed the oldest person there from 2:00 pm to 2:00 am where no less than 500 people passed through the doors of the Royal Palms Club. As we entered the evening hours the young ladies came there dressed to knock any male off his feet in their finest and sexiest nightclub attire with make-up, heels, tight skirts and dresses. The young men were also appropriately dressed for an evening on the town. Definitely a stylish and classy crowd. Brooklyn´s finest.
Not one person was out of order and no violent acts of any nature occurred.
I, difficult as it may seem, fought to hold my composure while teaching these Brooklyn Beauties the Game of Shuffleboard in spite of receiving all those hugs of joy as they managed to get a scoring disk. Thus the Unparalleled.
Folks Jonathan and Ashley have created something no less than an Uproar in their community and New York. News and Media coverage never ceases. Their dream has taken off and Shuffleboard is receiving never before seen Advertising and Interest from an age group that is missing from present day shuffleboard membership. especially in the USA.
In a public announcement, I promised Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club 2-UN slots in the upcoming ISA World Championship and they will have players coming daily to learn, train and try to earn one of these coveted slots.
Monday and Wednesday evening they have League Playing with 60 teams signed up.
THEREFORE: Your next trip to New York most definitely and especially if you are young and single, should include an evening at the Royal Palms Shuffleboard Club, however I highly suggest that you call in advance and prepare yourself for one heck of a Shuffleboard Surprise !
Michael Robert Zellner,