Hell’s Kitchen bowling alley Lucky Strike is throwing a gutter ball: the shuttered venue is auctioning hundreds of bowling shoes, pins and even the lanes themselves, all in one lot, after becoming one of the West Side’s biggest casualties of the pandemic.
The auction, operated by liquidators TAGeX, has already sold off $41,517.41 of items from the W42nd Street bowling alley. They ranged from the useful — walk-in restaurant refrigerators, (soon to be extinct?) gas stoves and Brunswick pool tables that sold for over $4,200 apiece — to the unique: a dilapidated, half-lit “Lucky Strike” sign that went for $76 and a Donald Duck painting that attracted a $2 bid.
If you’re curious to see what else emerges from the now-dusty lanes, the auction listing notes that claimed items will be moved out of the space this upcoming Wednesday and Thursday — except for one key element, the center’s bowling system that remains up for sale through February 8.
The system includes 26 bowling lanes, 26 sets of bumpers, 26 automatic pinsetter machines, 13 bowling ball return machines, 13 key pads and scoring machines, 13 gutter returns, seven bowling ramps, “approximately 500 bowling shoes”, 600 bowling pins and 500 bowling balls. If you’ve always dreamed of your own alley, it’s ideal — but it’s not exactly the set-up you’d fit in the average 700-square foot Manhattan apartment, and you need insurance to remove it. While there are eight days left in the auction, the current bid sits at a very reasonable $1,000.
Lucky Strike first made a name for itself as a high-glam Hollywood bowling alley that opened its inaugural California location in 2003. The Hell’s Kitchen location opened in 2008 to the resistance of some of its River Place neighbors, but despite petitions over potential noise and rowdy bowlers, the lanes moved forward and went on to become a popular party spot for everyone from corporate execs to celebrities.
Incorporating bits of Hollywood lore (like set pieces from The Big Lebowski and a private lounge for incognito celebrities), the bowling alley attracted such big names as Jerry Stiller, Jim Carrey, Gerard Butler, Justin Bieber, Hailey Baldwin and Katie Couric. It was also profiled by Manhattan Sideways, and is now one of the site’s Lost Gems. But it abruptly shut in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Though owners LLC Lucky Strike Entertainment received $10 million in support from the now-defunct Restaurant Revitalization Fund for its 14 open locations, the Hell’s Kitchen outpost did not make it back from the pandemic shutdown and the company did not respond to W42ST’s requests for comment on details regarding the money.
Brandon Thomsen, Senior Director of Marketing at Lucky Strike Entertainment said at the time of closure: “Regrettably, due to the pandemic, the property owners have chosen to go in a different direction at our New York property. We have appreciated the opportunity to serve the Lucky Strike Manhattan community over the years and are in the process of looking for a new location.”
River Place parent company Silverstein Properties and its Chief Marketing Officer Dara MacQuillan told W42ST in late 2021 that another tenant would be moving into the building within the next year, but it is not yet clear who would be bowled over to take over the space. W42ST has reached out to MacQuillan and will update if we hear back.
Until then, you’ll have to take your best throw over to Midtown’s other bowling alley, the Port Authority-ensconced Frames – or pick up the entire spare Lucky Strike bowling set for your personal use.