There’s a secret bowling alley underneath an NYC museum

New York, NEW YORK (WPIX) -- Walk along Fifth avenue and take a right at 70th street and you will stumble upon the Frick Collection. Today it is a museum, but back in the early 1900s, it was actually built as a home for Henry Frick and his family.

Frick built it to house his large art collection, but designed it knowing that after he died it would one day be transformed into an art museum.

While so much of the home has been updated and renovated, there is a secret underground that holds true to the original style.

"The Fricks loved sports," Ian Wardropper, the museum's director, said.

Hidden bowling alley underneath the Frick Collection
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Hidden bowling alley underneath the Frick Collection
(Photo: WPIX)
(Photo: WPIX)
(Photo: WPIX)
(Photo: WPIX)
(Photo: WPIX)
(Photo: WPIX)

So down in the sub-basement sits the Frick's original bowling alley and billiards room. In fact, the massive ornate table cost over $1,700 to construct in an era when workers were paid just 22 cents an hour.

The bowling alley consists of two lanes.

"What is great about this bowling alley is it is a gravity feed bowling alley," Wardropper said. "Meaning if you put the ball at the end on the rack, it will come all the way back on it's own."

After Frick died, his wife briefly turned the bowling lanes into a library dedicated to her late husband, before later opening a space off-site. Today, the alley remains with all it's original paneling -- but there is a catch.

"We can't invite the public down here because of fire access," Wardropper said.

Meaning, since there is only one way in and out, the fire department doesn't allow people downstairs.

So since Hidden New York is about profiling places you can visit, let's talk about the museum upstairs.

They have free Fridays on the first Friday of every month from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. Plus, they have introduced pay-as-you-wish Wednesdays in an effort to make the culture more affordable and accessible.

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