Playdium auction attracts a crowd

April 14, 2018 07:20 PM

ALBANY - Everything had to go. And every time the auctioneer offered another item up for sale, the bids kept coming, and coming, one after another, just like the repetitive pocket hits that kept coming game after game, year after year, on the old wooden lanes at the Playdium Bowling Center in Albany.

 "We've tried to build it up over the years and then all of a sudden we watched it dwindle," said Neil Luther, who ran the venue for decades. "My accountant told me five years ago to shut the bowling center down. How can you do that? Your customers that come in. They're loyal to you."

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But loyalty didn't pay the bills. Eventually, it was game over for the Playdium. Any hope for resurrecting the last remaining bowling alley in Albany wound up in the gutter.

"We have a lot of memories of this wonderful building and the owner was a real gentleman," said Tom Kelly.

 Kelly was one of more than a hundred people who stopped in for a taste, and purchase of nostalgia. In fact, there was a long line out back where you could buy Playdium bowling pins for two bucks a piece. 11-year old Jack Marchese says he wanted one for his man cave.

In its heyday in during the 1970's it wouldn't have been unusual to wait an hour or two at the Playdium just to get a lane. But kids grow up, and generations pass, and when the Playdium wasn't able to entice enough new bowlers to the game, their game was over.

"It's kind of disheartening but you could see it coming," Luther said.

Luther says he realizes most of these people were looking for auction bargains, although he's also mindful that many of them came here hoping to get one last look the place where, through the years, many friends and memories were made.

"Now when you see this happen, everybody says, "Oh, man, I hate to see you close." Well, where are you? Where have you been?," he said.

It was a long slow death for the Playdium. It was life well worth living


WNYT Staff

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