A bowling alley? What the Frick?
June 11, 2009 12:41 PM   Subscribe

Old bowling alleys are often things of beauty. Some are (in)famous. The NYTimes just had a wonderful feature on a little-known bowling alley in the basement of the Frick collection, complete with pristine antique bowling balls and a gravity-driven return mechanism. [Previously] (mandatory Big Lebowski reference)
posted by ericbop (16 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
is that one from the frick the set from the end of there will be blood? looks really familiar.
posted by spicynuts at 12:48 PM on June 11, 2009

It does look similar, but the house and bowling alley from There Will Be Blood is the Greystone Mansion in Beverly Hills.
posted by dhammond at 12:53 PM on June 11, 2009

Sure does look similar. I can't even hear the phrase "bowling alley" anymore without thinking, "I am the Third Revelation! I told you I would eat you!"
posted by FelliniBlank at 12:57 PM on June 11, 2009

I went to a high school that had a two-lane old-fashioned bowling alley; we used it for bowling class (a PE elective). At the end of each lane was a pit in the floor. A couple of girls sat on a bench above the pit, setting pins and returning balls via ramp. After bowling a frame, the bowler would walk down and take a turn as pinsetter. It was pretty cool (even without the drinking of others' milkshakes). That was in the late 80s, though; I wonder if they use it anymore because of liability issues.
posted by candyland at 1:10 PM on June 11, 2009 [3 favorites]

by the way, i love your shoes.
posted by the aloha at 1:34 PM on June 11, 2009

In graduate school we made a lot of great memories at the (now sadly gone) Arcade Lanes in St. Louis.

The alley was a walk up above (I think) a hardware store, with only a handful of lanes. Their shoes and balls were ancient, and you kept your own score with well-used half pencils. The league rankings board above the stairs showed scores from 1986. When the ball got stuck in the return (and it always did at least once), the 70-something-year-old owner would holler out to his grandson and he'd appear from the back to retrieive it. They sold bottles of beer - Budweiser and Bud Light were your only choices, I think - for a couple of bucks each, and they were wonderfully cold. There was a jukebox that still played records, and the selection seemed like it had been set and kept for 30 years. There were no lane bumpers or disco balls or strobe lights or fluorescents for "crazy bowling". There was never anyone there, and the owner always seemed surprised and grateful when a dozen of us would show up for a night of drinking and bowling. It was an old bowling alley that was retro without trying to be. Each time we bowled there it was like our own little treasure.

I miss that place.
posted by AgentRocket at 1:52 PM on June 11, 2009

I totally agree with AgentRocket about Arcade Lanes. We used to sneak out of work early on Fridays to hang out there and drink cheap beer. It was a very cool place. I also loved this old bowling alley in Chicago. I never bowled there, but they used to have killer concerts. You just had to be careful not to slip on the lanes or trip up in the alleys.
posted by DaddyNewt at 1:58 PM on June 11, 2009

That picture of Nixon in mid-bowl really ties this post together.
posted by Dr. Wu at 2:24 PM on June 11, 2009

I really like bowling alleys, a club I go to a lot used to have the scene from Buffalo 66 where they are dancing in a bowling lane projected on the screen above, which I always thought looked really cool.
posted by saralk at 2:30 PM on June 11, 2009

I'm finished!
posted by Artw at 3:09 PM on June 11, 2009 [1 favorite]

Nobody Fricks with the Jesus.
posted by wayofthedodo at 3:43 PM on June 11, 2009

My husband and son both belong to leagues at a place that sounds an awful lot like AgentRocket's place, except the 70-something owner would yell out to her son when a ball got stuck in back.

I can't go to an AMF center anymore - it's too loud and distracty and I like keeping my own score.
posted by Lucinda at 3:54 PM on June 11, 2009

I thought Canada's five-pin lanes were depressingly wussy, and then I moved to Nova Scotia and saw the abomination that is Candlepin.

I blame the curling cabal.
posted by Sys Rq at 4:22 PM on June 11, 2009

I thought Canada's five-pin lanes were depressingly wussy, and then I moved to Nova Scotia and saw the abomination that is Candlepin...I blame the curling cabal.

Nope. T'was actually invented in Worcester, MA.

Candlepin bowling is cherished here in New England. Previous MeFi FPP.
posted by ericb at 8:38 PM on June 11, 2009

In the basement of my dorm in New York, which was old Nursing Student housing, there was a fantastic old bowling alley. I don't remember who told me about it first, but I do remember we were not allowed to go down. So we'd have to sneak in late at night and play with the banged up balls, set up the pins manually and use the gravity based return.

It was super creepy to be in that basement. We also found a child's wheelchair, and windows that looked underwater into the swimming pool. I couldn't have asked for a better way to spend my freshman year.
posted by piratebowling at 4:57 AM on June 12, 2009

In Northern NJ, I bowl at a 6-lane wooden bowling alley that's about 80 years old. The wooden lanes are from the late 1950's and are hand-oiled before every league night. The place has some real character and was even used as the backdrop for part of an Actonel commercial that's currently running in nationwide markets. The lanes are in the basement of a blue-collar type mens' club.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 6:37 AM on June 12, 2009

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