You gotta love Boston Bowl. They know how to celebrate a 50th Anniversary. In honor of that, last Saturday they treated everyone to 50 cent games of bowling and 50 cent hamburgers, pizza, and drinks. I was going to say they did this all day, but since theyâ€™re open 24 hours, they chose the 11 a.m. to 7 p.m shift for the freebies.
As I wandered through the packed lanes, I saw a lot of people having fun. And people lined up patiently as the lines grew for the 50-cent food. It looked like Dorchester in there, people of all races and ages bowling, talking, eating, and looking around. I got some pizza slices and drinks for my wife and son and felt that I had arrived.
Now if you have had kids, isnâ€™t it a rite of passage to have their birthday parties at Boston Bowl? I mean filling out those little invitations they give you, worrying if those invited will show up, eating that sugary cake they give you in the party room. You hope your kid is happy with all this even if youâ€™re not so happy worrying about whether all the kids are having at least some fun. And if your kid is invited to a party there, when you pick them up, do you wonder what messes did the hosting parents have to handle?
Of course, when they take their game room tokens and head for that terrible, wild, noisy, throbbingly painful (to parents) game room, you know youâ€™re finished. It moves kids into like an energy-drink-imbibing condition and they clamor for more money to play more games and then cash their tickets in for those not-so- wonderful tacky prizes. Getting them out of that game room takes all the determination of a lion tamer. Then it turns so peaceful when you finally get out the door into the parking lot away from the noise.
That parking lot is Dotâ€™s most famous. A poignant scene from the great movie â€œThe Friends of Eddie Coyleâ€ was shot there as Eddie has been shot and his body stuffed into the trunk of a car parked there.
Eddie was a small-time hood who didnâ€™t make it. Our beloved Dorchester writer Dennis Lehane calls the movie, which was adapted from George V. Higginsâ€™s novel, â€œa working class tragedy.â€ Shakespeareâ€™s tragic figures are kings and princes like those in King Lear and Hamlet, but for working class people, a tragedy is a sad life that ends sadder.
My sonâ€™ is now 14, so he doesnâ€™t want any more bowling birthday parties at Boston Bowl. He does like to go there and shoot pool, so he will tell his own stories to his kids about this place. And, of course, thereâ€™s always the tiny batting cage there, so you have can have a concrete version of Florida spring training.
Hey, if Chinatown is closed down at 2 a.m., and Mondoâ€™s is long gone, you can still head to Dorchester and Boston Bowl, open 24 hours.
You gotta love it.
Lew Finfer is a Dorchester resident.