Monday, December 12, 2011

Nathan's Famous and Bowling Strikes

AS GOOD AS I REMEMBERED.

Hot Dog!  It's my favorite food group.  When Jerry and I used to have barbecues, I would eat six or seven hot dogs.  But, my all-time favorite hot dogs come from the original Nathan's in Coney Island.  So, I was very happy when my brother Chuck arrived this morning and said he wanted to go to Nathan's for lunch.  Chuck also arrived with his bowling ball because he said he wanted a rematch with Jerry, who beat him the last time they bowled together.

CHUCK AT NATHAN'S.  THERE'S ROOM FOR TWO IN HIS DOWN JACKET.

The three of us headed over to Nathan's for an early lunch and I was not disappointed.  We each had two hot dogs, humongous drinks, and three large orders of "The world's best crinkle-cut fries!"

THEY USED TO BE SERVED IN A PAPER CONE.  BUT THEY TASTE JUST AS GOOD NOW.

My drink was Nathan's orange-ade, which was as sweet as I remembered, although the color was a bit more orange than it was when my sister Dale called it "sea water."  I ordered it not because I really like it but because it reminds me of all the times Dale and I walked over to Nathan's when we were kids.  We would have hot dogs and fries (which she would smother in ketchup) and then she would have a cup of "sea water" while I would have grape.  The sweetness and huge size of the drink this time nearly put me over the edge. But it was worth it for the sweet memories of Dale.

THE DOORS OPEN WIDE IN SUMMER, BUT THE SEATING INSIDE WAS WARM AND COZY.

CONEY ISLAND SUBWAY STATION, DIAGONALLY ACROSS NEPTUNE AVENUE FROM NATHAN'S.
RENOVATED SINCE MY MOTHER, HARRIET, AND THEIR SAILORS WERE THERE.

After lunch, we drove over to Shell Lanes to bowl.  I used to bowl at Shell when I was a kid.  My mother always made me tow little brother Chucky along with my friends and me.  He was 6 or 7 years old at the time and we'd let him push the lightest ball down the lane between games.  One time, the ball only made it half way down at it's creeping pace before coming to a dead stop.  My friends and I commenced to roll other balls to knock Chucky's all the way down.  We were successful, but the manager saw what we were doing and made us turn in our rented bowling shoes and go home.

CHUCK, READY TO BOWL.

Now, it's completely automated, so it's impossible to bowl extra frames.  They've also installed retractable bumpers so kids can play and never have to worry about their balls rolling into the gutters (which earns a score of zero).

CHUCK, AFTER HIS FIRST STRIKE OF THE DAY.  VERY PLEASED WITH HIMSELF.

In addition, there are kids' balls that are much lighter.  AND they even have removable tracks so very little children can push a ball down a metal slope.  Out of the 16 lanes on our side of the building, we were one of only two not using bumpers.  I was very impressed with our maturity.  I was not, however, very impressed with our bowling — except for Chucky's, since he slaughtered Jerry.  He only gloated momentarily.  I didn't gloat at all when my second game was the high score of the day. I also didn't mention that fact to Chucky.  He was too busy not gloating about beating Jerry.

CHUCK WANTED TO BE SURE I GOT A SHOT OF WHAT LANE 6
LOOKED LIKE AFTER HE KNOCKED DOWN ALL THE PINS — HIS SECOND STRIKE OF THE DAY.

24 comments:

  1. I love bowling!!! Was in a league when I was in university, I'll take any one of you guys on!!! lol

    Those 'dogs' reminded me of my favourite ones at Fenway Park in Boston....actually they were sausages...boy were they good!

    Looked like a fun day Mitch and good memories too.
    Jim

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  2. Jim:
    We had a very fun day with my brother. I just took Ibuprofen; I didn't know bowling could be so tough.

    I loved Fenway Franks (never had the sausages), but my faves are still from Nathan's.

    Coney Island always brings back great memories of my sister.

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  3. Nathan's are the best!
    Looks like Coney Island has been cleaned up a lot since I was there in the 80's.
    Detroit claims to have perfected the Coney dog, but nothing beats one from Coney Island.
    As a kid I too was on a league. Had a 215 average. Now I go once a year with top scores of 160 and complain about the aches and pains for days.

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  4. Great story about your trip away from home to your original home.

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  5. Stew:
    We were surprised by all the new construction in the neighborhood just in the last year. Looks very promising. Nathan's has been redone inside, too. I've had so-called Coney dogs in other places, too. Nothing beats the original for me.

    I'm in awe of your bowling prowess. I was in a league briefly. I have bowled 215 here and there but my average never came anywhere near that. A top score of 160 would have been nice today, but that was very far off!

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  6. Unknown:
    Thanks. Don't be a stranger!

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  7. I've never been to original Nathan's, but I did go to the Times Square Nathan's once in the late 70s. I was looking at my choices and I asked the guy behind the counter what a knish was. I thought the k would be silent. "What's a nish?" I asked, like the upstate dweeb that I was. He didn't miss a beat. He said, "I dunno, but I can tell ya what a knish is."

    I think I ended up getting a hot dog. I mean, what else at Nathan's, right?

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  8. It sounds tempting to go to Coney Island and Nathan's. Did you know the name Coney came from the Dutch word Coneynen Eiland [Rabbit Island]?

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  9. My problem with bowling is finger-insecurity, or rather, finger-oversecurity. I'm never convinced that I'm going to be able to let go when I sling the ball.

    We had a regular bowling night at a place I was on conract a few years ago (Norwich, Norfolk). The skilled players of the team (and this hints regarding the rest) were:

    Meena - could hardly lift the ball, bowled two-handed and often in 180 degrees the wrong direction.

    Aktas - always used the heaviest ball, bowled OVER-ARM (he was Turkish, it was a pride thing). It wasn't sufficient to knock all of the pins down, they must be smashed and trampled to never again bother the Turkish Empire.

    Me - never sure my fingers were going to leave the holes and convinced that I would end up sailing down the lane like washing towed behind a car. A run-up like a cross between a retired rugby professional with bowel problems and a trainee ballerina with an inner-ear infection.

    We were great! We were spectacular!

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  10. I guess if you're visiting America, it doesn't get much more American than bowling and dogs!

    Looks like a great day!

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  11. Walt the Fourth:
    Thanks for the reminder. I'll have to see if I scout out a good "nish" while I'm here (and, thanks to you, that's probably what I'll ask for).

    For me, the only really good Nathan's is the original in Coney Island. Of course, there's no realistic reason why... well, maybe having the boardwalk and ocean one block away.

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  12. Peter:
    So many names of Dutch origin in New York (the former New Amsterdam). I did know that tidbit about Coney Island. The island (which is no longer an island) before development was filled with rabbits.

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  13. The Owl Wood:
    I just read your comments to my mother. She thinks she would have been a perfect addition to your team. Her high game was 29. Oops, I have just been angrily corrected. Her AVERAGE was 29. Her HIGH was 39. Sorry, Mom!

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  14. Bob:
    The all-American vacation? It was a great day with Chucky.

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  15. Hello Mitch:
    Well, you really are having a trip down memory lane on your American holiday. This all looks to us incredibly authentic.....Coney Island, Hot Dogs and Bowling Alleys....the stuff of films to us!!

    You sound to be having a wonderful time.

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  16. So, Nathan's Orange-ade is your version of Proust's Madeleine! Nice memories to have brought back, and I'm glad you could still go there and have some fun.

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  17. J&L:
    Yes, a very American holiday. And some wonderful moments. But can't wait to get home to Spain!

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  18. Will:
    When I was a kid, Nathan's orange-ade was simply called orange drink. Proust's Madeleine sounds so much more classy.

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  19. What delicious memories...We always get Nathan's but I had no idea they came from Coney Island. (Of course I'm sure they don't really taste the same!)

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  20. Kristi:
    The more I think about it the more convinced I make myself that the hot dogs and french fries taste better here because of the sea air. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! (But, I'm sure it's simply the memories.)

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  21. I have heard of Nathans, but never went when we were in NYC. I only eat Hebrew National hot dogs, so am fussy about where they come from.

    I love the picture of Chuck with his smile at his strike! You are a great brother. xox

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  22. Nubian:
    Nathan's is a highlight for me. (But Hebrew Nationals sure are good.)

    Chuck's second strike photo was a complete blur because he was so energized. Wish I could have caught that!

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  23. Bowling, hot dogs, fries and drinks. A time made in Heaven.So glad you had fun. Chuck seems like a good guy.

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  24. the cuby poet:
    Chucky is definitely a good guy, and he's doing better in life than we ever expected. It was a great day with him.

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