Beloved Brooklyn Bowling Alley in Danger of Demolition

Maple Lanes Heading for the Gutter?

Maple Lanes Bowling Alley in Borough Park is one of the last its kind. Charging only $4.50 per game and serving simple, old-time bowling alley cuisine like burgers, fries and cheap beer, the lanes attract families and services schools and leagues; but all that may soon be a thing of the past.

The owners of the 52-year old Brooklyn icon have recently filed a zoning change application so that they can take down Maple Lanes and built in its place a synagogue and 182 town house apartments. Co-owner John LaSpina did not directly comment on his group’s decision, but the application states that the proposed project would “provide needed housing for a densely populated” Borough Park and a much needed synagogue with space for events.

Maple Lanes is not just the largest bowling alley in Brooklyn, nor the friendliest to families. According to Mark Goldberg, 50, who was bowling with his 15-year old daughter Jaclyn,

“Maple Lanes is an institution — it’s a cornerstone of Brooklyn. I don’t want to believe that someday it might not be here.”

Bowling leagues and schools would also be hurt by the disappearance of Maple Lanes. The next closest lanes are three miles away, and not large enough to accommodate everyone at once.

“A lot of schools will be affected,” said Ronnie Maiman, coach of the girls’ bowling team at Brooklyn Studio HS. These kids love bowling, and if Maple Lanes is gone, it will be very difficult for them to pursue their hobby.”

Maple Lanes are also budget friendly, allowing families to spend some inexpensive family time together. Other bowling venues in Brooklyn are not geared to families, and are expensive. A night at one of the high-end lanes could end up costing someone upwards of $100.

“Back in the day, people actually cared about bowling,” said Jeremy Kirschner, 25, while at Bowlmor. “Now, all we want to do is drink, dance, party and hook up. Bowling is more of an afterthought.”


James Allenby is the editor of Gowanus Lounge, bringing to his position a vast background on New York, and especially Brooklyn history, culture and lifestyle. Born and bred in the heart of "the County of Kings" James Allenby knows what it means to be a Brooklynite, and imparts this meaning at all times to his readers. Contact James at info(at)gowanuslounge.com.