The Times just did a story about Stan's, the dive bar that has stood right outside the bleachers entrance of Yankee Stadium for 30 years. With the stadium rebuilt and moved, Stan's no longer has that prime real estate and the owners worry about losing business.
Last fall, at the season's end, I visited the scruffy bunch of bars and souvenir stores outside the stadium, concerned that the change would leave them in the cold. It's not just Stan's we have to worry about.
What will happen to Ball Park Lanes?
the front desk
Bowling alleys are vanishing all over town. One of the things that has kept this alley alive for so long is that it supplied fans with a much-needed bag check. Wrote the Times, "Ball Park Lanes has become the primary storage closet for Yankees fans carrying more than weighty expectations... John Gianos, the alley’s co-owner, figures that if someone is coming to check a bag, they might stick around for a beer. They might try a $4 burger at the grill. They might even think bowling is a good idea."
And at $5 a bag, in a world where people don't bowl like they used to, the baggage business must have been critical.
the lanes' lunch counter
If I had to guess, I'd say the new, post-9/11 Yankee Stadium has its own bag check stations. And even if it doesn't, are people going to walk down to Ball Park Lanes to check their backpacks?
So, from the scrappy bars and souvenir shops of River Avenue, we may find another mass vanishing. They may shut down or adapt to the Stadium's upscale clientele, like the renovated Billy's, with its chandeliers and blue backlighting, attracting what another bar owner called "Midtown comes to the Bronx."
See all my River Avenue pics here