View Full Version : Moving to New York

02-21-2004, 03:16 PM
Hi Everyone,

I'm from Southern California, but will be moving to Manhattan in a month, near 125th St.. I wanted to find out if anyone had suggestions of public courts or even tennis clubs in the area. I realize that I no longer will be able to enjoy free well maintained courts as I do here. Thanks in advance. Alan

02-22-2004, 03:58 AM
125th St.? Good luck, Alan.

02-22-2004, 11:23 AM
Tell me about it... I'll be missing SoCal the moment I get off the plane. At least it's only for a year.

02-22-2004, 12:57 PM
Alan, I used to live in Manhattan before moving out to California. My advice is don't even bother bringing your racquets to NYC. Leave them in So. Cal. But if you MUST play, you can try Central Park but only in the summer and then it's next to impossible to get a court and if you do manage to get one, you are allowed to play for exactly one hour per day. You also have to buy a season permit to play. Now if you're a milionaire, you may be able to find one of the increasingly rare indoor courts to play on. Most are closing because the land is so expensive that the owners can make much more money selling the lots to a real estate developer than using it for tennis courts, even when renting them out at $200 per hour. So if you're ready to and able to spend that kind of money, you may still be able to find a court in midtown or near Wall Street. (McEnroe has been making a public stink about the closing of all the tennis clubs in and around Manhattan, including the club that he himself plays at).

BTW, will you be attending Columbia or something up there at 125th St.?

02-22-2004, 02:27 PM
Well, the long story is that I'll be in NYC from April til the Fall just hanging out, and then moving to Fairfield, CT for school for a year. Maybe I'll have better luck in Connecticut. Guess I'll just have to shut it down for several months. That's pretty sad that there are no courts to play at anymore. Thanks so much for the heads up though.

david aames
02-22-2004, 03:19 PM
The situation here is not that bad if you are willing to compromise.

I play about 3 times a week at my local club for 7 bucks an hour. In the summer, you have plenty of choices going from clay to hard courts. The city sells seasonal permits costing $150 for the summer season allowing you to play whenever/wherever you want.

Shoot me an Email if you want more info.

02-22-2004, 03:33 PM

Is it worth it to get membership at a local club? How much does that set you back per year? I think the closest club to where I'll be would be Eastside Tennis Club, but I'd be willing to go further. Thanks. You could also email me at aonex@yahoo.com. Alan

02-22-2004, 07:01 PM
Aonex - What Breakpoint has told you is ONLY true if you don't care all that much whether or not you play, and are not willing to "brave" a 20-35 min. subway ride. If you truely WANT to play, then you go across the river. In Bkyn and Queens there are MANY public courts where you can play for more than an hour. I used to play all day-until I got tired-not until someone kicked me off.

Go to ******* Sporting goods, get a list of all the public courts in NYC along with the tennis permit that someone else mentioned. And then, just play. I lived in Manhattan and had the same woes until I had the brilliant idea of LEAVING Manhattan for better tennis. Also, several Manhatten clubs-Manhattan Plaza, Roosevelt Is., etc.-hold Friday night doubles parties (or they used to)-$30 or $40 for 3 to 4 hours of tennis, and a buffet. Not bad. The Brooklyn clubs are much cheaper for court time, although a few are on the shoddy side. Still, a court's a court.

Where there's a will there's a way. Also, I wished you luck not for moving but for the neighborhood in which you'll be living in-125th St. can get a bit dicey, depending on which side you're on.

02-22-2004, 07:59 PM
Well Phil, it's good to hear that playing tennis(for our friends in the big apple) may not be as bad as we have heard. I can't imagine having THAT much difficulty doing something that you should be able to do whenever you want. That said, I'm from an area that has enough nice public courts that you can just about always find somewhere to play if you can find someone decent to hit with.

02-22-2004, 10:54 PM
@wright - Right-NYC is not the tennis hell that some people have painted it as. BUT, I would NEVER recommend playing in Central Park on a weekend-it's a zoo.

When I visit my relatives in Northern CA, and see the free courts EVERYWHERE-many not even being used-I almost want to cry (or move there). It's no wonder the level of play there is so much higher-not only better weather, but EXPONENTIALLY better access to courts.

02-23-2004, 10:05 AM
Just come to NJ, it's only 10 minutes away from NYC. Lots of frre courts across the Hudson river.

Steve F.
02-23-2004, 05:48 PM
Hey Aonex -

Welcome to NYC.
Look, bring your sticks to NYC. NYC has plenty of places to play. Some of these posts are incredible.

I finished grad school a few years ago at Columbia and lived right there, at 121st and B'way, 124th and Riverside Drive, 107th and Amsterdam, and now at 207th and B'way in Inwood.

I was just hanging out on the weekend at 122nd and Amsterdam, eating homemade apple pie at a place called Kitchenette. On my way in with my fiancee, a couple guys with their gfriends, still in warm ups with tennis bags, held the door for us. No sh*t.

There are 9 gorgeous red clay courts in Riverside Park at 96th Street, groomed and immaculately maintained, right along the Hudson River. You can watch 1951 Wimbledon & Australian winner Dick Savitt's incredibly effortless strokes there. There are 7 brand new resurfaced hard courts right next to Grant's Tomb at 122nd Street, also in Riverside Park.

These courts can be accessed from April until November for a season fee of $100. That's it, unless they've raised the price. Still, a bargain if they did. Or you can pay by the hour, $6.

You can walk to the hard courts in 5 minutes, the way I used to, or take the M5 Riverside Drive bus to the clay courts. That'll take 5 minutes too. A monthly metro card will set you back $70, and you'll have one anyway.

Central Park at 96th Street has 22 har-tru courts. You can go there too with the season tennis pass. All 22 were just restructured last season at the cost of millions. The courts are fantastic. And before anyone posts that you have to sweep your own court, well - you don't anymore. They discovered that the excessive sweeping degraded the surface. Central Park is only a zoo on weekends, as mentioned, and before and after work. If you're in NYC to hang out though, you'll be able to play all day 9-5 no problem, and usually without having to go from court to court. I used to do that in grad school and the guys who run the place would let us stay as long as we wanted. But since you'll be so close to the others, you'll probably play there.

I live right next to Columbia's brand new indoor tennis facility, 6 sweet courts where off hours during winter are $30/hour. The men's team practices days, and if you can haul *****, they may hit with you. That said, when you arrive, the public courts will be open, or about to do so. In Isham Park, right next to me, are 8 hard courts, not as well maintained, but the park guy who runs the place knows me so he never checks for mypass and I save the fee. The Dominican guys there play better tennis than most college guys and will happily wipe all posers off the courts.

No tennis in NYC? The same mayor who got the National Tennis Center built where the US Open is played got the city to invest a ton to build courts in the city itself.

Truth is, NYC is divided into East and West Sides, and people rarely travel east-west here because all the subways travel north-south. No big deal, but anyone living on the east side has very little reason to go and know what's in the part of the city where you'll be living, unless they went to Columbia, Manhattan School of Music or the Jewish Theological Seminary.

You'll be in Morningside Heights or Harlem depending on where you are, which is on the Upper Upper West Side. You'll be on the 1/9 subway line which stops at 125th street, and everybody rides it, no big deal. Please.

And you can play tennis in NYC until your frickin' arms fall off.

Drop me an email and I'll give you whatever info you need.

02-23-2004, 06:19 PM
Welcome to NYC Aonex. I ditto what Steve F. said. The key is having your days free and it sounds like you will. If you don't know anyone to hit with, just go to Central Park, the hard courts at 110th street or the hard courts under the Manhattan bridge. There are usually people there you can hit with. It shouldn't take long to find regulars that will challenge you in matches. Though the red clay courts at 96th and Riverside are awesome, rarely are there scragglers waiting for a pick up game. (But you can feel like a true dirtballer there.) It's just a bit out of the way to go there without a partner.

Good luck.

02-23-2004, 08:15 PM
Awesome post, Steve. One of the most helpful I've seen.


02-23-2004, 11:47 PM
Guys, I can't thank you enough for all the information about where to play. I'll be living on 125th St. near Harlem Station and Garvey Park, so I'll actually be in the East Side. Shouldn't be a big deal to take the bus or subway across town though, right? I hear there's all sorts of urban revitalization and gentrification going on in that part of town, so hopefully it isn't going to be too dicey. I'll definitely check out the courts on 122nd and those in Central Park. I'm also excited to check out the clay courts in Riverside... used to all the hardcourts here in SoCal. Either way, I'll have plenty of time to explore and play during the day. Just bought a pair of NXG mid's and it would have been a shame to have to stash them away after just a couple of weeks of play. Thanks again!

02-23-2004, 11:57 PM
Aonex - The Riverside Park clay courts are absolutely beautiful-right on the Hudson with a view of N. Jersey (the nice part), but unless you play in the middle of a weekday, you won't get over an hour of court time. Like Central Park, these courts are packed on weekends.

david aames
02-24-2004, 04:42 AM
Most city facilities (Central Park, Riverside Parks etc) allow you reserve court time in advance at a fee ($5). That's on top of the seasonal permit ($150) or Single play tickets ($5).

Meaning you can play Central Park no problem even after work hours.

Here's the Riverside Clay Courts website FYI...

02-24-2004, 08:47 PM
Wow! Sorry to have sounded so pessimistic earlier, Aonex.

I attended Columbia for 4 years in the early '80's and I didn't even realize there were tennis courts in Riverside Park (but then again, I didn't go there all that often). There were exactly 3 1/2 courts on campus. One in front of John Jay dorm and 2 1/2 courts down in this pit next to Pupin Hall, which I believe now has a building standing on top of where the courts were. I think the single court in front of John Jay is gone, too. I'm glad to hear Columbia has finally built an indoor tennis facility near campus. The tennis team (any anyone else) use to have to trek all the way north like 100 blocks to get to the school's tennis bubble where the team plays.

I most recently lived in NYC in the mid to late '90's, but on the Upper East Side, and other than the Vertical Club (health and tennis, and pricey), Central Park was my only reasonably priced and within short biking distance choice. Since I was working there, I could only play in Central Park on weekends, and as everyone else has already said, I can confirm that it was a zoo. What I used to do was wake up very early on a Sat. or Sun., ride my bike 30 blocks and to the west side of the park, try and book a court for later in the morning or afternoon, ride my bike back home and go back to bed. Then I wake up again in time to ride back to the courts to get my one hour of court time that I'm allowed per day. I did this because you can only book a court the day you play, and if you go any later, all the courts will be booked. (As someone else mentioned, they may allow advance reservations but only if you buy these reservation tickets). However, as others have said, if you can play weekdays during the day, all of this shouldn't be a problem for you.

Anyway, good luck and have fun playing tennis in NYC.

Drop Shot 11
07-02-2009, 09:19 PM
I think Ben Bailey from Cash Cab can take you to courts.