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The Fine Art of Custom Billiard Tables

  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
    The Belvedere Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    The Chatham Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Park Avenue Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    The New Yorker Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Blatt Manufacturing Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Veneer Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Second floor unfurnished antique inventory Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Lathe Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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    Hand sanding Photo by Stephen Meltzer
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  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Photo by Stephen Meltzer
  • Josh Baron

There are only two limitations to creating a dream custom billiards table, says Ron Blatt, the president and CEO of New York’s Blatt Billiards: your wallet and your imagination. Blatt, whose grandfather Sam founded the company and whose father Maurice ran it until 1969, started working in the family business as a young boy. The company has called the same Greenwich Village building home since 1923, and today it makes and sells some of the world’s finest pool tables.

Blatt has 2,500 tables in stock—mostly antique—yet 85 percent of the tables it sells are custom. Prices start at around $18,000 for a fully custom table and can quickly reach six figures, depending on materials. Blatt recalls an order with diamond inlays, another with malachite, and still others built with rare woods such as rosewood and ebony.

His clients include New York mayor Michael Bloomberg (who has purchased three tables), Will Smith, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and most recently, the hotelier Steve Wynn, who bought a table for his $70 million penthouse atop the Ritz-Carlton on Central Park South.

Although the surrounding neighborhood has changed over the last century, inside the store much has remained the same. The third floor is still the workshop, where a team of men from around the world hand-carves pool table legs, creates elaborate inlays, and shapes the tables’ elegant forms. The fourth floor is the showroom, where customers can begin to dream up custom tables, with hundreds of wood, color, and fabric samples to choose from. There are antique tables stacked three high to provide inspiration and guidance. The fifth floor remains the finishing area, where more than 20 steps are completed before a table is ready.

“I always invite people to go through the whole table-making process,” Blatt says. “And I promise you’ll never look at a pool table the same way again.” (212.674.8855, www.blattbilliards.com)

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