Tag Archives: Bowling

Mugs Bring Joyful Memories of Nungesser Lanes

8 Feb

Karyn S., whose family started the Grasshopper Salon on Bergenline Aveune in North Bergen, made many of us OLD Time North Bergenites happy with her recent post about Nungesser Lanes coffee mugs that she found in the salon’s basement.  She offered them free to anyone who wanted one or two on a North Bergen Facebook page. The comments just flowed from people who had happy memories and would like a mug for themselves or a family member.  I was one of the many people who was excited to see the mugs because of my experiences bowling and meeting up with friends at the bowling alley, we called “ Nuggesser’s.”

My two mugs!

From the time I was three until fourth grade, I lived on Third Avenue between 85th and 87th streets. Then we moved to Boulevard East and 78th Street, which is on the other side of what was then Hudson County Park (now Braddock Park). It meant my siblings and I had to also go to a different elementary school. Switching from Horace Mann to Robert Fulton was difficult. I was leaving all my friends behind. When I look at a map now, it was not so far away. But when I was a child, it seemed like hundreds of miles, while in reality it was just one mile away.

My parents found a solution for my brother and me to keep in touch with some friends.  They signed us up for a bowling league at Nungesser Lanes!  We played on the league for one or two years.  I don’t remember every single meet.  But I do remember my first time getting two strikes in a row. The magic of the points adding up when that happens was so amazing to me.  I loved that moment.  I remember the noise of the bowling, finding the right ball and shoes, and just being with our friends!

I remember my Dad dropping us off at the front parking lot on rainy days and sometimes picking us up. I know we played on the weekends, because we definitely did not do activities in the evenings after school.  In those days, you were home!  Sometimes, after bowling, we went to a friend’s house.  Looking back, I am sure that the parents arranged these in advance.  We would go to their house, or they would come to ours.  A definite break for all of our parents.

As a special treat, we would sometimes stop for White Castle hamburgers after bowling.  You would buy them by the half dozen.  Honestly, I did not like them that much.  I’d rather just eat the fries.  The place I liked better was called Steak and Shake and it was just up the road, or so I remember.

I believe my brother and I sometimes walked from our new home on 78th Street to Nungesser’s through the park, a one and half mile hike. But I think that was when we were older. I vaguely remember meeting up with friends at White Castle for lunch, and then perhaps bowling. The main thing was to be together.

We would walk up 78th Street to Park Avenue and enter the park on a path by the tennis courts.  We would pass the playground and meander along the paths, sometimes cutting across the grass, coming out on the opposite end, across the street from Nungesser’s.  It was worth the energy spent because on the other side of the park were our friends.

To say the post about the mugs brought back happy memories does not do it justice.  I really, truly wanted one, but I live in Kansas now.  I felt it would be an imposition to ask Karyn to mail it to me.  But my good friend, the one I used to bowl with when we were children, told me I had to call. She said after a long talk with Karyn, my friend was sure she would send me a mug.

I followed my friend’s advise.  She was right about Karyn, who I also had a fun chat with about North Bergen, and how close I once lived to where her salon is located.  I asked about the mugs and their discovery. She told me that the basement was flooded in a bad storm, and when cleaning it out, they found the mugs in wet boxes.  Her parents once bowled at Nungesser Lanes, so she believes they have been there for decades.  

Karyn did a wonderful Good Deed when she decided to share the mugs with others who remember Nungesser Lanes.  From the over 100 comments on her Facebook post in North Bergen, Now and Then, and the Memories, many others were as happy as I was to ask for a mug.

Karyn was also kind enough to mail mine to me!!! She was the post office was not far away, and she would send them. SO sweet to do that !!!  I was so excited when my mugs arrived yesterday.  (Yes, I did pay for the shipping!!)

Living in Kansas, I often hear people say how abrupt and unkind people in New York and New Jersey are to others.  I explain that is not at all true.  Karyn is an example of the many, many kind people I grew up with in North Bergen.