Friday, April 16, 2010

Shuttered Woodhaven Lanes Bowling Alley to Become Bob's Discount Furniture Store by Nicholas Hirshon - NY Daily News

Read original...

Members of the Kings and Queens League bowl Friday nights at Woodhaven Lanes in Glendale. The bowling alley closed in 2008 and will soon be home to a furniture store. Stevens for News

A historic Glendale bowling alley that closed amid teary farewells in 2008 is slated to become a furniture showroom this fall.

Bob's Discount Furniture, a chain known for its ubiquitous and lively TV ads, is slated to open at the site in November with about 65 employees, said company spokesman Eric Montague.

The recently unveiled plan will outfit the brick box once known as Woodhaven Lanes - a pin paradise for 50 years - with arched entryways, metal roof panels and newly planted trees.

"Our plan is to take it, rehab it, make it very attractive for the neighborhood," Montague said, adding that plans also call for canvas awnings, split-face block veneer and windows.

He said the company's lease will run at least 10 years.

The renovations would radically alter the rather bland facade of Woodhaven Lanes, which hosted a nationally broadcast TV game show called "Jackpot Bowling" in 1959 and 1960.

The 60-lane alley soon became a community mainstay. It was still popular in 2008 when its operator, Brunswick, decided to focus on alleys in areas where the company already had a strong presence.

The hangout soon closed despite outcries from bowlers. The site's owner then met with the proprietor of a chain of bowling alleys in Brooklyn and on Long Island, but they failed to strike a deal.

Later that year, city officials rejected a bid to honor the site as the city's first bowling alley landmark - a distinction that would have protected the building from major renovations or demolition.

Bowlers are now raising cash for a historical marker by the alley, hoping to preserve its memory even if its facade changes.

"The exterior of the building is incredibly ugly," said Robert Corroon, an agent for the site's owner. "If anybody wants us to maintain that look for historical purposes, the answer will be no."

Jim Santora, a one-time Woodhaven Lanes regular, said he hated watching the alley close, but felt even worse as it sat vacant.

"It deserved better than that," Santora said. "At least it gets a new life now."

Barbara Stuchinski of the Forest Hills Community and Civic Association praised plans for 42 spots for cars and bikes at the site.

"It's wonderful, it's perfect and there isn't any furniture store around," she said. "It definitely is an improvement. It just finishes off that whole strip on Metropolitan Ave."