SOUTHINGTON--At Shooters Billiards in Southington, one guy who knows how to run the table, and he also happens to be 88 years young.
Larry Gendler, known as "New York Larry" at area pool halls, is Brooklyn born. He made it out of the Great Depression, survived World War II, and got his big break in life playing pool.
Friday, Gendler is being inducted into the New England Pool and Billiards Hall of Fame. Gendler was a pro, but now teaches amateurs well past their prime, and well into retirement.
Gendler started two senior leagues at Shooters and spends every week at the Bristol Senior Center keeping seniors active by playing pool.
"Pool is great exercise, it's bending, it's stretching, focus," Gendler said. "It's healthy, instead of sitting by the television and vegetating."
Despite all the tournament championships and the thousands of wins at the table, Gendler pointed out that one of his biggest accomplishments has been helping a Vietnam veteran get through his PTSD.
"How many years has this man been suffering?" Gendler questioned about friend John Ford.
Ford had a major fear of public places and found it hard to trust people. He was going to therapy at least once a week. After Gendler convinced Ford to join the senior's league at Shooters, Ford opened up and cut his therapy sessions down to group counseling once every two months.
Ford credits pool and Gendler for being the perfect combination. "I look at him like he's my father," Ford said. "My father passed away and he's always taken care of me."