For over 50 years, people from Pittsburgh's east end have been walking up the same two flights of stairs of a non-descript brick building on Forward Avenue in Squirrel Hill to a bowling oasis named Forward Lanes. This past Wednesday, the Fogcutter decided to take some time off to hit up his favorite bowling alley and emerge with at least one turkey--that's three strikes in a row of course. Crossing the threshold into the bowling alley, the slight hint of grease and mustfills the nose, while the ears are tantilized with the buzz of the hundreds of flourescent light tubes. The lanes sit peacefully as the Fogcutter, with his partner in crime, Tim, are the first to arrive on this Wednesday afternoon. As with most bowling alleys, Forward Lanes have daily bowling specials running throughout the year. On Wednesdays, you can bowl as much as you'd like for $7.50 from 12:00 PM until 3:00 PM with shoe rental included.
After recieving your shoes and placing your street shoes under the endless row of benches, you are ready to bowl. Rather than installing new bells and whistles and upping fees, the owners have only invested in making sure Squirrel Hillers have a place to bowl for generations to come. The chrome-finished Brunswick 2000 ball-return system is all original, you can watch your freshly-greased ball roll back between lanes and shoot up a ramp where the unused balls await. The only update to Forward Lanes other than carpeting is their computerized scoring system, which is over 20 years old. The backsplash above the pins is all original as well, it's an etched, navy colored, transparent sheet of plastic with small lightbulbs lit up behind it to create the illusion of colorful stars. Although the overall appearance of Forward Lanes is dated, that's what makes this place appeaking. Bowling was a key part of America's social network in the mid 20th century and this bowling alley has kept that era alive by maintaining their original equipment and providing the Squirrel Hill community with a safe place to meet, socialize, and most importantly, get their bowl on.
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