Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo rolled a strike with bowling alleys across the state by allowing them to reopen to the masses after being closed during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The alleys officially reopened statewide on Monday, and there were plenty of fans eager to get rolling again at the Funfest Bowling Center on Strickland Avenue in Mill Basin, Brooklyn, which had a grand reopening in the afternoon.
Mike Rudy and his wife Ramona Martin Rudy have owned the bowling alley for three years and invested their life savings in it after they purchased the former Mill Lanes. They said, “it’s about time.”
“Nobody was answering to our calls – we have over 30,000 square feet of space and there was no reason why we couldn’t comply with the CDC regulations,” she said. “Home Depot, Lowes, all of them were open, but we were given the opportunity to show what we can do.”
Funfest divided each lane with plastic to limit each group’s interaction and any chance of spreading the contagion. The lines to get in was clearly marked, sanitizer available and everyone was required to wear a mask. The entire building was also sanitized and after each use, the lanes and balls are cleaned.
“We sanitized the whole building top to bottom, all the bowling balls, we were ready to be allowed to reopen,” he said. “We put plastic down the lane for extra precaution. We are happy to have the opportunity to get back some of what we have lost over the past five months and try to make amends to our landlord and the community as well.”
Rudy said nobody comes to bowl with strangers.
“You go to the Shop and Stop and go everywhere together – so at this point, we are happy to have the opportunity to get try and remain open and stay in business – our whole lives are invested in this and it would’ve been a shame to lose it.”
The customers were also elated.
“It’s something else to do with the kids,” said Rebecca Melendez, who came with her husband and two children. “It’s like every day you have to try and find something to do. You gotta keep busy – that’s the name of the game. The kids are excited.”
“It’s the best, it’s great, it’s gone too far without a doubt,” added John Sandoval. “They are opening to 50%, and you can’t open a bowling alley? I had to go to New Jersey to bowl, and they opened bowling during phase 2. Problem was it cost more in tolls than to bowl there.”
“Today’s the first day, my kids are like, I don’t want to be with my family today – its like the worst thing,” she joked Sara Perch who came with her two sons. “We have to get back and we have to live, They’ve been yelling and fighting – I have two boys and we have to keep their brains functioning. They don’t like my 1000 piece puzzle – but they did it in a week.”
“I miss the sport, when I play bowling I have, fun, its a great hobby,” said Ellen Mercado who came with his three friends. “I really missed this place.”
Next week, gyms will reopen under strict guidelines, if all goes well on the COVID-19 numbers.