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Friday, March 28, 2008

The GAP Museum: Lament for a Bowling Alley

Posted By on Fri, Mar 28, 2008 at 8:41 AM

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Today marks the anniversary of Juan Bautista de Anza's "discovery" of the Presidio. The former army headquarters have gone through several changes and is due for a few more. If you are unlucky enough to belong to one of the bowling leagues that meets at Presidio Bowl, you know you have about a year left to enjoy the out-of-the-way venue. Because in 2009, billionaire Don Fisher, founder of the GAP, is going to put a big white box where the bowling alley used to be. Fisher's plans to build a museum to warehouse his art collection were approved in January and the design, by architect Richard Gluckman, kind of looks like a big refrigerator. It's been a source of controversy ever since, and in an article that ran last week in the Chronicle, Gluckman admits that "People complain the building looks cold and white and stark. In those images, it does." He will unveil brand new plans next month. There are a lot of complaints surrounding the approval of the museum, not the least of which is the corporatization of the Presidio. The museum will sit only a parking lot away from the new Disney offices. But the biggest loss to the city will be the Presidio Bowl. Presdio Bowl makes up exactly half of all the city's bowling alleys. (click 'more')

Once it's gone, the only lanes left will be those at the Yerba Buena Bowling and Skating Center, which are devoid of personality and offer a limited, expensive selection of crappy beer. Presidio Bowl not only has a totally kick-ass and affordable beer selection, they can boast one of the finest fried food menus in the city. Their corn dog may be the best in the Bay Area. Not to mention, for employees of the isolated Presidio, it offers one of the only cheap (if unhealthy) options for lunch. The French place that sits opposite the bowling alley offers bowls of soup that start at eight dollars. I doubt Fisher's museum will offer anything as captivating as the hand-drawn rendition of somebody's favorite soccer team that's taped up over the entryway to the bowling alley kitchen. -Andy Wright

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Andy Wright

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