By Connor Adams Sheets
The Black Widow descended on a Flushing pool hall Monday night, wowing a crowd of more than 100 with her billiards prowess.
Jeanette Lee, a Korean American whose skills with a cue stick, dark clothing and venomous tongue earned her the arachnid moniker, visited her hometown of New York City after traveling the world and winning more than 30 national and international titles along the way.
The Brooklyn-raised, 39-year-old mother of six is the official spokeswoman of the American Poolplayers Association, and she made Flushing’s Carom Cafe Billiards, at 34-02 Linden Place, one of a string of public appearances along her new APA Black Widow Tour, calling it a return home.
“You can take me out of the city, but you can’t take the city out of me, baby,” she said in her New York-inflected accent, drawing howls and cheers from attendees who had flocked to see one of ESPN’s “sexiest female athletes.”
She wowed her crowd of followers by performing a wide book of tricks interjected with her punchy, irreverent commentary, dropping technique tips and words of encouragement for aspiring pros in-between unbelievable shots. She dropped six balls in six different pockets with one quick tap and knocked a quarter into a shot glass waiting on the rail of the table with another perfectly aimed shot.
And when a man talked a little too much trash from the sidelines, she had him down on the green felt, placed a square piece of blue chalk in his mouth and placed an eight ball on it as if she were teeing up to drive a golf ball. She set up a cue ball in front of him and lined up to jump the ball through the air and hit the eight ball from between his quivering lips. He dropped the ball several times, presumably out of fear.
“I’ve been making about 50 percent of my trick shots,” she said, taunting him. “I’ll try to miss your jaw.”
The cue stick cracked against the ball, and a split-second later hit its target dead in the center, knocking it into the far-corner pocket to cheers from onlookers and a huge sigh of relief from her victim.
The Black Widow was in town to promote the APA’s new Black Widow Nine-Ball Division. After warming up with her succession of tricks, she played a succession of games of nine-ball, her specialty, against people selected from the crowd to have the honor of playing with “a champion,” as she repeatedly called herself.
College Point resident Malik Isa came to the event because he was off work Monday and wanted to see his “dream woman” up close in person. A diligent follower of the game who tries to play several times a week in his home and at local bars, he said he was honored to watch Lee ply her trade.
“She’s one of the best in the world,” he said. “Who would think we’d get to see her play here in Queens?”
Reach reporter Connor Adams Sheets by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 718-260-4538.