Where are all the pickleball courts? That’s what New York residents are asking according to a recent story by Curbed.
The story interviews several New York City-area pickleball players on the challenges they face finding courts on which to play.
The story opens with a look at one pickleball match being held on the basketball court of the Post BK athletic club in the Greenpoint neighborhood of Brooklyn. As the story says, no one was playing basketball. Instead, 10 players were using the court to play pickleball.
This isn’t an unusual scene. City dwellers throughout the New York area have been forced to fight for pickleball space, Curbed reports. And the problem has been getting worse as the city has forbidden pickleball play at courts in several parks.
The story quotes Katherine Hedden, a USA Pickleball co-ambassador for the borough of Brooklyn, who says that pickleball took off in New York City during the earlier days of the COVID pandemic. As she says, the sport gave people an opportunity to exercise and socialize safely.
But as more people took up the paddles, tensions rose. An example? The city’s parks department banned pickleball from the Seravalli Playground in New York City’s West Village after parents complained that pickleball players were hogging the courts and preventing their children from using them.
There is some hope, though. After three years, and a publicity campaign led by Hedden, the New York City Parks Department in January unveiled plans to renovate a former volleyball court in Hell’s Kitchen into a pickleball court.
But even these plans haven’t come without some controvery. Curbed reported that critics are worried that the court will be wasted on a sport that they say might be a passing fad.
According to The Villager, the renovations at Hells Kitchen Park — which also include repainting the park’s handball courts and replacing the asphalt on its basketball courts — will also include a six-foot fence designed to stop stray balls from crossing between the park’s pickleball and basketball courts.
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