Updated 08/02/2012 02:58 PM
Harlem Bowling Alley Will Not Be Spared, Owners Say
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A popular Manhattan bowling alley is set to close its doors come Saturday.
Harlem Lanes owners Sharon Joseph and Gail Richards say the high cost of rent has made it impossible to stay open.
"It's disappointing because we built this for the community and I thought this would have been like Sylvia's, a generational business we could pass down to our daughters, so it's a sad day," Joseph said.
Located at 2116 Seventh Avenue, the 24-lane bowling alley opened its doors in 2006 as part of the Clinton Foundation's Urban Enterprise Initiative.
Former President Bill Clinton attended the opening.
At the time, it was the only bowling alley in the country owned by black women.
It's been a source of affordable entertainment for residents ever since.
As a result of the closing, 50 employees will be out of a job.
"I started off here as a lane attendant and I worked my way up. I had the most fun, I learned a lot. I gained a lot of experience learning to deal with customers, learning to talk to people," said manager Chevoy Daniel.
"It hurts, it definitely hurts. I kind of...I cried actually. It's difficult to see something that was started off as a dream to be just shut down," said employee Shea Dixon.
"If I don't come here then I am going to have to go to a farther place or a place not as good as this," said one young bowler.
The owners are selling items from the lanes, including flat screen TVs and office equipment.
Joseph says her next move will be conducting entrepreneurial workshops discussing her experiences running Harlem Lanes.