The original Bowlmor Lanes closed Monday night after 76 years in business.
Grieve posted their official goodbye, which states, in part, "Our historic location...is being forced to close in order to make way for a luxury condominium."
The whole building has been stripped of its many independent businesses--including Stromboli pizza, a magazine shop, and a parking garage--all regular-folks kind of stuff, all to make room for yet more luxury condos. Again, the many becomes the one. The democratic becomes the elitist.
I never bowled at Bowlmor after its dreadful renovation, which gutted the place of all its antique character, now just a hazy memory of brown wood paneling and dusty trophies. Still, the death of a bowling alley hurts. My childhood was spent among the lanes.
League nights were spent at the Bowl-A-Rama, occupying myself at the pinball machines and snack dispensers, where many bags of Bugles were consumed while my mother racked up spares and strikes, dressed in a T-shirt emblazoned with the unsavory slogan "Bowlers Do It with Balls."
I remember clouds of second-hand smoke and the yeasty smell of cheap beer. The hollow wooden music of pins knocking into each other, thrum of balls rolling along the glistening maple and pine. That mysterious sign that warned, "Do Not Lob the Ball."
There wasn't much left of the old Bowlmor at Bowlmor. I went looking in vain for it during a final visit. I could barely stand to be in the place, with its screaming music and flashing disco lights. But I do love the look of bowling shoes in their cubbies. And I found this one wall, hung with black-and-white photographs, that brought about a feeling of the old place.
No matter what, it was better than condos.