A Ticket Back in Time -Legendary Fight Club Featured at Shadow Box Film Festival
They are all gone now. St. Nick’s, the 5th Street Gym, Stillman’s, Sunnyside Garden. The legendary gyms and fight clubs from boxing’s Golden Age have long been replaced. But there still is a place where fight fans can relive the memories of Sunnyside Garden, the last of New York’s fabled fight clubs.
Premiering at this year’s Shadow Box Film Festival is the documentary, “Sunnyside,” which takes an indepth look at the building that launched the careers of hundreds of fighters.
“If you are at all nostalgic about the Golden Age of New York City boxing, than you don’t want to miss the screening of Sunnyside,” said David Schuster, executive director of the Shadow Box Film Festival. “Watching this movie, you can almost smell the cigar smoke and taste the water-downed beer. For anyone who has been to Sunnyside Garden this film is a mandatory trip down memory lane.”
Sunnyside Garden was one of New York’s hottest fight clubs from 1947 until 1977. So many legendary fighters turned pro at the venue or fought there early in their careers. Billy Graham, Floyd Patterson, Bobby Cassidy, Vito Antuofermo, Eddie Mustafa Muhammad, Gerry Cooney, Mustafa Hamsho and Saoul Mamby are just some of the fighters who have graced the ring at Sunnyside.
“Sunnyside Garden was an important part of my childhood,” said the film’s director, Chris Cassidy. “My father holds the record for most main events at Sunnyside. It became this mythical building to our family. When they demolished it, it was like they took away a part of my childhood. I wanted to make this film to recreate that atmosphere, to bring all those memories back to life.”
The film features Bobby Cassidy, U.S. Congressman Peter King, Antuofermo, Cooney, Hamsho, Harold Lederman, Lenny Mangiapane, Henny Wallitsch, Bob Duffy, Ron Ross, Gene Moore and many others from the fight game. It will be screened at 1 p.m. on Dec. 5 and 6.
Since its inception in 2012 through this year’s event, the Shadow Box Film Festival will have showcased 68 films about boxing.The films for the 2014 festival were shot or produced in seven countries — Ireland, England, Canada, New Zealand, Cuba, United States and Sweden.
WHAT: The Shadow Box Film Festival
WHERE: SVA Theatre, 333 West 23rd Street (8th and 9th Avenues)
WHEN: Friday, December 5, and Saturday, December 6, 2014