Thursday, July 30, 2009

There Used to Be a Bowling Alley Here

Green Ridge Lanes, on Green Ridge Street in Scranton, was demolished this week.

It wasn't my bowling alley of choice growing up, but I'm still sorry to see it go. There aren't many bowling alleys left.

I walked around the rubble Wednesday morning, just to see what was left. I wondered if I could see anything recognizable. The answer is below-- a snack area table and a stack of lockers.

I bowled a fair amount in high school. It was a nice, and inexpensive way to kill an afternoon. MBC Lanes in Dunmore was a great place to hang out-- bowling (42 lanes!), pool tables, pinball machines, snack bar and soda machines. Bowling centers have a unique aroma-- beer, cigarette smoke, the dressing applied to the lanes, the disinfectant. I never learned what MBC stood for. Like Green Ridge Lanes, it's gone now. Unlike Green Ridge Lanes, the building is still there. It's now a furniture store. Googling MBC Lanes didn't produce much information.

Bowling is no longer inexpensive. However, it's still a good time. I stopped going regularly many years ago. Comedian Robert Klein has a great line about bowling shoes: "Renting shoes is like renting a Kleenex."

The owner of Green Ridge Lanes reasoned that an offer from a big national drug store chain was too good to pass up. I have nothing against drug stores. Unfortunately, they can't come close to a good, old fashioned bowling alley on the charm scale.