by Randy Ooney
My Nickel’s Worth by Randy Ooney
Save the Earth. Put your beer and soda cans, glass bottles, and newspapers in the green plastic bin and leave it at the curb. You can sleep easy knowing you have satisfied your recycling duty for the week. The idea that glass, paper, aluminum and other metals can be reused became vogue in the late 20th century, but what about other stuff? I have two bowling pins from Lynbrook Lanes augmenting my homes landscape, but I wonder what happened to the other 478. Joyner’s in Monticello used to cut their used pins in half and paint the top halves for use as tee markers at Silver Springs. Unfortunately those 36 holes of golf did not last as long as St. Andrews, and the former courses are waiting to be recycled and redeveloped.
When I wrote about “Cathedrals“ a couple of years ago I learned that nearly every bowler, young and old, has had a favorite center that closed for various reasons. So what happened to all the pinsetters, lanes, scoring equipment, and settee furniture? I’m not sure what becomes of the machinery and technology but this week I learned of a company in Brooklyn, NY, called CounterEvolution NYC. Owner Jim Malone was not starting a company, but only looking for a large slab of wood to build a kitchen countertop. He found a stash of previously owned maple bowling lanes, used one for his counter top, impressed his friends with the finished product, and a new company was born. He now makes specialty furniture by hand and only to order. One thing I found interesting is that he found that maple lanes of yesteryear were pretty tough to work with. He had to go back a little further, and found lanes that were made of heart pine, a wood more dense than regular pine, but not nearly as hard as maple. It fooled me, I never knew that there were bowling lanes made from pine. I guess I’m not old enough. Maybe bongo bob and Jim Lindquist bowled on pine. The table and chairs I saw that had been made from recycled bowling lanes were pretty ugly, but they did have an antique mystic about them. The price also has an antique flavor, ranging from $2500 to $3500 for a table. Starbucks is a client for some of the work. I guess if you can sell a cup of coffee for $3.00, you can afford a $3500 table.
It does make you wonder about the 100 year future of current bowling centers. Surely the shiny synthetic surfaces won’t last forever, and the market for current hardwoods will probably not carry over to the lane surfaces of today. I guess we better get bigger plastic green cans.