Positively Upstate: 95 years young and still hitting the lanes
SCHENECTADY, NY (WRGB) If you mention the ‘Mayor’ at any Schenectady bowling alley they know you’re not referring to anyone in City Hall. Because the Mayor *they* know is Frank Cornicelli. At 95-years-young, he recently retired from bowling after 80 years.
“I’m my best at a bowling alley.” Cornicelli says. “I don’t know, I just love those people and they love me. I know they do.”
Cornicelli started bowling in 1930s in Schenectady as a teenager.
“On Van Vranken Avenue we had a bowling alley and I set up pins. And the money I got … I spent bowling!” He says.
Cornicelli served the Schenectady Bowling Association for four decades in some capacity, including twice as president. When he wasn’t bowling he was running tournaments, handing out awards, and was even the official lane inspector for many years. Now, this summer at the age of 95, he’s being inducted into the New York State U.S. Bowling Congress Hall of Fame. Fellow bowler at Schenectady’s Sportsman’s Bowl, Chet Ciembroniewicz, was the friend who nominated him.
“I don’t know who is happier, him or me.” Ciembroniewicz says. “It was actually the first time I heard him speechless.”
Cornicelli’s health unfortunately forced him to give up bowling last year along with his other passion, golf. But it doesn’t stop him from frequently visiting his old alley haunts and chatting with friends; which he is in no shortage of!
“He got nicknamed ‘the Mayor’ I don’t know how many years ago.” Ciembroniewicz says. “He walks into a center and it will take him half an hour to get down 5 lanes because everyone is talking to him.”
Bowling locally for 8 decades, Cornicelli says his favorite part of the game wasn’t winning, it was the comradery.
“You bowl in a league, you bowl with your team, you try so hard to beat the other team … and then afterwards when it’s over, you hug. It’s just the closeness of the game.”