by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Awhile back on these pages we commemorated and commiserated our favorite bowling centers that have closed their doors for whatever reason. At the same time we welcomed many of the new modern centers that have opened in the past decade or two, while still respecting the survivors. Bowling is still very popular across the United States, however league bowling has diminished considerably and given way to leisure time bowling for many.
I wasn’t surprised when I saw an article in the New York Times regarding similar bowling progress in the city that never sleeps. I prefer the Bostonian pronunciation, “New Yuk”. You know, where every sentence starts with “Hey, Listen”, and CPR consists of shouting “Hey, listen, - Get up before you die!!!” Although there are many traditional bowling centers as we know them, the ones with no loud disco music, nightly leagues, and bowlers who average over 180, the new centers opening in New Yuk are catering to flocks of younger folks who bowl a little and drink and dance a lot.
Of all places, the second floor of the Port Authority Bus Terminal has a newly remodeled “Frames”, with a swank restaurant and VIP Lounge. There is even a bouncer at the entrance to refuse admission to those wearing baggy jeans 12 inches below the waist, bandanas and gang colors, and even gawdy gold chains. Mr. T would be refused admittance, and Horsey, the only guy I know who could afford to bowl at Frames, would probably be asked about his 1960’s retro bowling shirt. Bowling costs between $11.00 and $13.00 per game, probably the same price as a tap beer. And you thought Target Field was high!
There are many other examples. In Greenwich Village, a traditional bowling center was converted to lanes accompanied by Coney Island Games and burlesque shows. Last month, a $20 million, 90,000 square foot bowling center was scheduled to open in the vacated New Yuk Times building. Although centers have larger capacity now, the actual number of bowling centers in New Yuk has decreased from over 200 in the 1970s, to under 30 today. Ralph Kramden and Ed Norton might have to go straight home from their Racoon Lodge meeting if the “Honeymooners” existed today.
Much of this information was obtained from an article in the January 5, 2010 edition of the New York Times; written by N. R. Kleinfield. Sadly he referred to these million dollar modern establishments as “bowling alleys” about 30 times. But, Hey, listen, he’s a Times journalist so don’t try to tell him what bowling centers are supposed to be called. Just another reason why “I H8 NY”.