Save Maple Lanes! Dyker Heights resident starts petition

September 18, 2012 Denise Romano
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Spare us!

Dyker Heights resident Christina Squitieri has started a petition to save Maple Lanes, which is slated to close in 2014 to make room for community housing.

Squitieri said that she and her family used to bowl at Leemark Lanes, which was located on 88th Street and is now a Century 21 parking garage. When it closed in 2006, they started using Maple Lanes.

“Luckily, we could reach it by bus,” said Squitieri, who is a student at New York University. “There are always plenty of families there, there are still the pitchers of soda and plates of bowling alley fries and everyone always has a great time. I love that it’s an inexpensive, family-friendly, and fun place to be.”

The petition, which is addressed to Community Board 12 Chair Wolf Sender, CB members, and Borough President Marty Markowitz, asks them to “reconsider your decision to tear down the beloved Maple Lanes for the purpose of building condos.”

Owners of the alley, which opened in 1960, have sold the property to Fairmont Lanes, a corporation which plans to build 112 units of market rate housing and a synagogue on the site. Because the development is not as of right, it has just begun a lengthy public review process.

Squitieri’s petition has already gained 327 signatures in just a few days. Most of the petitioners are from the tri-state area, although there are some from Brooklyn transplants living in Florida, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Maryland. Many shared their fond memories.

“Maple Lanes keeps high school and adolescent bowling leagues running and fun,” wrote Dan Colonna. “Without it in existence, there will be one less activity for young people to enjoy, and more of a chance of their free time going to waste.”

“I’ve been bowling there for 30 years. Enough is enough,” wrote Perry Calcagno. “How many buildings need be erected for some of the community, while this one enjoyed by many more communities is destroyed? Please save one of the few centers left in Brooklyn for the sport of bowling.”

Squitieri said that some of her favorite memories include spending a time at Maple Lanes as a kid. “Cosmic bowling was the coolest thing ever – and it still is pretty cool. My cousin and I used to play the Backstreet Boys on the CD player,” she recalled. “When it was my 19th birthday we had a snowstorm and my family went to Maple Lanes. It was as much fun as when I was six. Maple Lanes isn’t just a place we went to as kids; it’s a place we still go to and still enjoy spending the time with our friends and our families.”

She said she also started the petition for the sake of neighborhood kids. “Everything is so expensive now, but bowling at Maple Lanes manages to still be affordable. Some families who want to spend time with their kids can afford to go to Six Flags on the weekends, but not many of us can,” she explained.

“Especially in this economy, Maple Lanes is a place that still allows most families to get together for a relatively low price and have a great night,” she went on. “Maple Lanes is a place for families; unlike the new bowling alleys with the club-like atmosphere.”

Squitieri contended that bowling builds teamwork skills, confidence and is a sport everyone can enjoy. “Bowling is great exercise, and in a city that just banned large sodas and is so afraid of obesity, you’d think they would want to keep programs with children exercising intact,” she said. “Don’t destroy Maple Lanes!”

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