In 50-plus years of 24 hours-a-day/seven-days-a-week, the Macalusos have learned a thing or two about bowling.
The third-generation family business has seen bowling scores jump from 100 to 200 and recently, between 20 or 30 people got to the 300, a perfect bowling score, between the September and May league season at the Whitestone Lanes, said manager Marco Macaluso, Jr.
“People have gotten better over the years,” said Macaluso, Jr., 45. “People practice more and they improve their scores.”
The fact that scores have improved should come as no surprise since recreational and competitive bowlers – including pro-bowler Tommy DeLutz of Flushing – can access the lanes all the time and with the “all you can bowl” Monday and Tuesday specials for $19 (not including shoe rentals), the opportunities to work on your score abound.
“It gets packed on Mondays and Tuesdays between 10 p.m. and 3 a.m.,” said Lisa Macaluso, Marco’s sister. Usually two leagues of 24 teams play per night. “But it usually empties out after 3 a.m.”
In the depths of night, however, when the sound of bowling balls rolling down the Alley’s 48 lanes and the clattering of the pins comes to an almost complete halt – some people find that they want to continue bowling – while others are just arriving.
“The people who work a late shift from the other 24 hour businesses, they come in because they want to bowl,” said Marco Macaluso, adding that their snack bar remains open for the graveyard shift bowlers.
Angelo Beninati, 31, has worked the night shift for 12 years at the “Big House” and added that all types of people come by at that time.
According to Macaluso, a variety of leagues play at the alley. During the weekdays, the ladies league meets around 10 a.m., the seniors bowl at 1 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, the high school teams show up between 3:30 p.m. and 4 p.m., and the adult leagues – of single or mixed gender recreational or competitive teams – bowl at 7 p.m. On weekend mornings, Whitestone Lanes also hosts a kids league and birthday parties for kids 12 years of age and younger.
The men of the Fourmen League and ladies of the Holy Trinity League bowl on Monday nights. Richi Valenti, 54, has been a regular at Whitestone since his teenage years.
“They’ve closed a lot of alleys in Queens and there is only a handful left,” said Valenti, bowler, who usually bowls between 190 and 195.
Dorothy McDermott, 89, with the Holy Trinity League, said that she had before she had knee surgery she bowled a 150.
“Now my score is less, but there is a big difference on how I feel,” she said.
Since it opened, Whitestone Lanes has been a 24-hour bowling alley. Macaluso said that his family just loved to bowl and figured why not open an alley. Throughout the years, however their style of play went from competitive to now mostly recreational.
Still, owning a 24-hour bowling is not just fun and games.
“I don’t get much sleep,” said the junior Macaluso. “I can probably use a little.”
In honor of The Queens Courier’s 24 years of serving you, our readers, and the communites you live in, we bring you a look at 24-hour Queens. We shadowed some of the people who work in and watch over the borough through the night, and, in addition, we have listed the places that you can go before the sun comes up if you need gas, feel like bowling, or get the munchies.
Read our other 24-Hour Queens Features by clicking below: