Bowlmor No More

Monday, July 07, 2014

Endless Fun! promises a chalkboard outside of Bowlmor Lanes flagship Union Square location. It's ironic, and perhaps a little sad, since the fun is actually ending - the historic establishment will officially shut its doors Tuesday.

“This is a very sad moment for the entire company," says Colie Edison, vice president of marketing for Bowlmor. "[Bowlmor- Union square] was the heart and soul of our company, a true New York destination. Everyone’s devastated to see it close."

 The closing marks the end of more than seven pin-filled decades at the longest continuously running bowling alley in the Northeast. Edison said that the location is shutting its doors because they could not get their lease extended, and like many a New York story, the landlord plans to convert the lanes and parking garage into luxury condos. Bowlmor has no plans to open another location in New York (as they already have alleys in Chelsea Piers, Times Square, and in Melivlle on Long Island).

Soon after Bowlmor opened in 1938 during the golden age of bowling, it attracted an athlete and celebrity clientele, famously including then-Vice President Richard Nixon, who visited in 1958.

But by the beginning of the 21st century, bowling had lost its cachet and Bowlmor had fallen into disrepair.

It took a full scale renovation in the '90s for Bowlmor to remain in business.

The current iteration of Bowlmor is now reminiscent of a night club, with a dress code, dim lighting and pulsating music to match. The makeover paid off, and Bowlmor became the highest-grossing bowling alley in the country, with branches in Times Square, Chelsea Piers, and out-of-state in Maryland and California.

New owners bought the property in 2012 for conversion into into luxury condos, and construction is set to begin immediately. While residents and nearby business owners seem ambivalent to dismissive about the toursity, neon amusement Bowlmor marketed for high prices, many are miffed at the future construction plans. The East Village Blog EV Grieve laments that “Bowlmor lanes will convert to condos, like everything else around here.”


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Comments [6]

joanne Theodorou from NYC

They keep cramming people in here, we are so overdeveloped thanks to corrupt politicians and greedy landlords bu I pity the poor business mn who actually owns his property, as his business is worth far less then his property so what are his choices but to sell out to greedy developers?
But where do all these people buying these places eat, grocery shop, get their clothes drycleaned etc. All these small necessary businesses are disappearing alongside the expensive condos.
Agreed the city is losing its flavor, its identification to modernist money.... there is no stopping it.

Jul. 09 2014 10:18 AM
sinha from india

Really very nice article. Thanks for sharing."

Jul. 08 2014 06:27 AM
JRC From Brooklyn from Brooklyn, N.Y.

There are alleys at Chelsea Pier and the 42nd Street Terminal, as well as Lucky Strike at 42nd and West Side Highway. Even so, our City, once the cultural Center of the Universe, is becoming a bullsh*t, whitewashed (literally and figuratively) shell of itself. We're not preserving its wonder (as awful and grimy as it once was) and spineless, gutless, soulless ghosts with insatiable drinking habits (as witnessed by all of the bars popping up en masse) and access to capital are taking it over

Jul. 08 2014 02:52 AM
marcus clinton from south bronx

I was born in New York city, have lived here my whole life. I'm starting to feel like an employee in an amusement park, where after my shift,I have to go straight home because I'm not allowed on any of the rides.

Jul. 08 2014 12:52 AM
JK from LI from Nassau County, LI

Hoping that this does not mean an end to the Bowlmor location in Times Square.

Jul. 07 2014 06:18 PM
DC from Brooklyn, NY

Only other bowling place I'm aware of is next to the Avenue X Station on the F Line. But it's a rather seedy area.

Jul. 07 2014 06:13 PM

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