The first time I walked into Gleason’s was in 1975. That was the old Gleason’s in Manhattan. The new-old Gleason’s has been around for about three decades. It has the same ambiance as the old Gleason’s. Not only does it have the same red walls but also the same smell that permeates Gleason’s. I’ve taken several hundred people there and they absolutely love it – as they should. It’s not only a piece of history but it’s also living history and, as we all know, a little bit of sweat equity never hurt anybody. Bruce Silverglade is the the current owner and his father before him was the previous owner. The original Bobby Gleason’s wasn’t Bobby Gleason’s at all- it was Bob Gagliardi. The reason Bob changed his name to Bobby Gleason is that the fight game back in those days was predominantly Irish. Wow, I wonder what Donald Trump would say about that? The Irish were rapidly followed by the Italians, then African Americans, the Hispanics, oh my god- everybody! That’s why they call it a melting pot! Gleason’s remains the oldest boxing gym in the United States. Every time I leave Gleason’s, I feel younger, stronger, and that my focus is better. I absolutely love it. It’s like going home. The purpose of my visit was to interview Khalid Twaiti. We have been following Khalid for the last 12 years. Khalid is a brilliant young man who will be graduating LIU with a major in business and he’ll be having his first professional fight on December 10th. Khalid expects to have three championship belts in three different weight classes within the next four years; I genuinely believe he will attain his goal.
I also had a great surprise at Gleason’s. I met Bruce Silverglade’s son, David, and David is cut from the same cloth as his dad. Extremely bright, well read, well spoken, and a tough S.O.B. – and that’s a good thing! We had a great one-hour conversation. David opened my eyes to a few things- let’s call it a little bit more education. You know what? It’s all good.Last but not least, it was great to see some old friends (even though they like to beat up on me!)
To all the ships at sea, Gleason’s will be closing their doors in early December… not exactly! They’re moving to a new location just a few blocks away from the current location. I’m looking forward to photographing it before doors open. I understand Bruce got a great discount on some red paint; I can’t wait. A new era will be born at the new Gleason’s and it will be as great as those before it.
See you on the road again,