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AMF Smithtown Lanes closes after 60 years of games and practices

A sign on the door of the AMF

A sign on the door of the AMF Smithtown Lanes on Friday says the bowling alley, a Smithtown fixture for six decades, has closed. Credit: Newsday/John Paraskevas

AMF Smithtown Lanes, a Smithtown fixture for six decades, has closed, a spokeswoman from parent company Bowlero wrote in an email Friday.

“We’ve come to the difficult decision to close AMF Smithtown Lanes,” said Jillian Laufer, the company’s senior manager for public relations, in an email. “We are grateful to the community and our bowlers for their patronage and support over the years. 2020 has been a year like no other and while we are sad to be closing this location, we are fortunate to have 10 other bowling centers in Long Island including nearby sister centers in Sayville and Centereach.”

Laufer did not agree to a phone interview and did not say why the company closed the location.

Signs posted this week on the Landing Avenue building’s front door instructed league bowlers when to retrieve their equipment.

Nick Attardi, president of the Suffolk Youth Bowling Association and a longtime bowling coach who ran the alley’s pro shop, said company management told him Wednesday that the bowling alley would not reopen.

“They didn’t give me any reason why,” he said. 

Attardi, whose group has given out thousands of dollars in scholarships to student bowlers, said he hoped to move its operations to Commack. 

Bowling alleys throughout New York State were ordered closed in the spring near the start of the coronavirus pandemic. Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office announced Aug. 14 that they could open under safety protocols that limited maximum occupancy to 50%, closed every other lane and required bowlers to wear face coverings and maintain social distancing.

Attardi said the Smithtown facility had reopened three weeks ago.

Glenn Roper, who coached Smithtown-Kings Park high school girls to a championship season last year, called the closure “devastating” for local bowlers, including those on his team, which was based at the Smithtown alley.

“With everything that happened with COVID, we couldn’t have a state tournament and now we don’t even have a home,” he said. “My girls are upset.”

Roper said his team might play its winter season in Commack, though that was not certain. “It’s sad for these kids — we don’t know what’s going to happen,” he said.

The 36-lane Smithtown alley had been slated to host a variety of men’s, women’s and youth leagues this year. Most leagues will be moved to AMF Centereach, with some going to Bowleros in Sayville and Commack, Laufer said in a later email. 

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