Photo by Mary Bakija; for all of today images, click to enlarge
Back on April 4, we had a Ticker entry that read like so: “Alex Shuman recently went duckpin bowling at a charming place called Perillo’s Bowl-O-Drome in Waterbury, Conn. ‘Sadly, the owner is closing the place for good May 22,’ he says.”
That seemed like something worth checking out before they closed up shop, so on Saturday the Tugboat Captain and I, accompanied by our friend Robert, went off on a little Nutmeg State adventure. We had a great time bowling, bookended by two excellent food-related stops.
Our route was a clockwise oval, beginning in NYC and looping up north to central Connecticut, then down to New Haven and back home:
We left Brooklyn shortly after noon. Traffic on the way up was pretty bad, turning what should have been a two-hour drive into a three-hour ordeal, so we were good and hungry by the time we arrived at our first stop: Blackie’s, a hot dog joint in Cheshire that I’ve been stopping at for about 20 years.
On my first visit back in the late 1990s, I was impressed with the dogs and asked the counter clerk how they were cooked. She said, “Oh, they’re boiled [ever-so-slight pause] in oil.” I laughed and said, “Oh, you mean they’re fried.” “Oh no, not fried,” she insisted. “Boiled. In oil.”
By any name, they’re great dogs, especially when topped with a mix of mustard and Blackie’s homemade hot pepper relish.
It was a short drive from Blackie’s to Waterbury, home of Perillo’s Bowl-O-Drome, which did not disappoint. Lots of great fixtures and signage, and of course I loved the green/white color scheme.
For the uninitiated, duckpins is popular primarily in Baltimore and in lower New England. (In upper New England, you’ll find candlepins.) The lane is the same as a standard tenpins lane, but the pins are short and squat, and the balls are about the size of a softball, which makes it very hard to get a strike. Nobody has ever thrown a perfect 300 in ducks, a point of pride among the game’s partisans, who think traditional tenpins is too easy.
In ducks (and also in candles), you get three balls per frame, instead of two. Ducks pinsetting machines don’t automatically clear out the fallen pins between balls or rerack the pins at the end of the frame — you have to tell the machine to do that. The rerack command is sent by pressing a button attached to the ball return fixture, and you clear the fallen pins via a little foot pedal located beneath the ball return. Each pair of lanes has two of these foot pedals, which are nested together in a way that I find immensely pleasing:
The owner wasn’t on-site, but we chatted a bit with the desk clerk, who said Waterbury used to have eight or nine additional ducks houses. “On a Friday night, you couldn’t get a lane — they were all booked up!” he said. Perillo’s is now the last place left in Waterbury (although there are a few others in nearby towns). He also said he didn’t know anything about the place closing next month. “I’ve heard that kinda thing before — they’re always talking about closing it up! But I’ll keep showin’ up for work until they tell me not to.”
Periollo’s only deficiency is the lack of a bar, so after bowling we stopped for drinks at a watering hole we’d noticed a few miles away (sorry, no photos) and then headed south to our final stop: New Haven, home of some of America’s best pizza. I’d eaten several times at the most celebrated of the town’s pizzerias, the excellent Frank Pepe’s, but I’d never been to Sally’s, which was supposedly at least as good, so that’s where we went.
I loved it. Sally’s is smaller and more homey than Pepe’s, and pie had a slightly more charred crust. We ordered a large, half-pepperoni and half-cheese. As usual with New Haven pizza, it was oblong — somewhere between an oval and a rectangle. A spectacular capper to a really great day.
Traffic on the way home was much better, and we were home before midnight. Such an excellent day! All the more so given that I’ve been having some health-related issues and other stresses lately, so it was great to have a near-perfect road trip. However you spent your weekend, I hope it was just as rewarding.
(Mega-thanks to Alex Shuman for telling me about Perillo’s Bowl-O-Drome. Without his tip, this adventure wouldn’t have happened.)
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KRC update: The latest installment of Key Ring Chronicles is about a Swiss Army medallion (shown above). Check it out here.
By Alex Hider
Baseball News: The Padres wore naval camo yesterday for Air Force Appreciation Day. They’ll wear the blue camo pattern one more time this year, on June 25 for Navy Appreciation Day (from Maximiliano). … Great-looking color-on-color game between the Astros and Rays yesterday (from Patrick Hackett). … Odubel Herrera of the Phillies was wearing mismatching batting gloves yesterday (from LaBar). … The Great Gazoo was at the Brewers game yesterday (from Nick Lineback). … Umpires have been wearing a “RG” memorial patch for former ump Russ Goetz, who died in March. They’ve also added an “MJ” patch for Mark Johnson, who died in October. … The Braves will give away this nice sliding Dansby Swanson bobblehead in June (from Smow). … Check out Darryl Strawberry’s McDonald’s wristbands that made the cover of a 1984 issue of Sports Illustrated (from Michael L. Hayden). … The Lehigh Valley IronPigs wore Phillies-inspired fauxbacks yesterday (from Eric Chase). … Tennessee has striped socks that match its dark gray uniforms (from Nick Lineback). … The Rowan University softball team was sporting some nice yellow stirrups yesterday (from Frank McGuigan). … Texas Tech softball has some crazy helmets.
NFL News: Washington CB Joe Lavender had a “Hit Win” sticker on the back of his helmet in 1976 (from Peter Fredrickson). … Here’s what every NFL team’s helmet looks like in its rival’s colors (from Brian Sandler).
Hockey News: The Devils allowed their season ticket holders to come paint whatever they wanted on the ice at the Prudential Center (from Stan Capp). … Alex Ovechkin has a memorial sticker on his shoulder pads to honor of the victims of the 2011 plane crash that killed every player on Lokmotiv Yaroslavl, a KHL team (from Stein).
Basketball News: According to this report, it was Celtics coach Brad Stevens who led the push to add black mourning bands to the team’s jerseys in honor of Isaiah Thomas’s sister, Chyna, who died in a car crash just before the playoffs began (from Phil). … The Lakers’ new training center will feature two full-length courts. One of them appears to sport the newly named South Bay Lakers logos. … University of Minnesota’s Nate Mason was spotted wearing his own jersey to a party this weekend (from Steve Rausch).
Soccer News: Liverpool L.F.C. was forced to wear Yeovil Town L.F.C.’s change kit when its own uniforms didn’t make it to the game. BBC has a video recap, but it’s only available to those in the UK (from Josh Gardner). … White-on gray was a theme in MLS yesterday. Orlando City FC /New York City FC and the Sounders/Galaxy played along (from thanks to all who shared).
Grab Bag: Ben Greenfield spotted this Packers/Brewers/Badgers logo mashup on the sign of a gas station in Mukwongago, Wis. Why is it being used as a gas station logo, and why weren’t the Bucks included? … A bunch of hash browns have been recalled because they include “extraneous golf ball materials” (from Douglas Ford). … Aussie football player Bob Murphy played his 300th game for the Western Bulldogs this weekend, so the team wore throwback guernseys with collars to mark the occasion. Murphy is the last active AFL player drafted in the 20th century (from Kurt Crowley).