Today’s news:
May 17, 2010 / Brooklyn news / Greenpoint / Meadows of Shame

Tennis anyone? McCarren volunteers fix court that the city forgot

The Brooklyn Paper

A rag-tag ring of racketeers has taken it upon itself to refurbish a decaying tennis court in McCarren Park after the city claimed it was too broke to fix it.

Members of McCarren Tennis, a year-old athletic club, took matters into their own racket-wielding hands after the Parks Department told them last year that it would not be able to refurbish the seven cracked courts — courts that weekend athletes pay $100 a year for the privilege of playing on.

After raising $4,500, seven members of McCarren Tennis smoothed out and painted one of the park’s N. 12th Street courts — the first such renovation that the parks’ decaying courts have received in nearly 30 years.

On the weekend of May 8–9, seven volunteers, led by founder Sean Hoess, put in 200 hours of labor scraping up the court’s exiting surface by hand before laying down asphalt with hand-held squeegees. After it dried, the volunteers applied two coats of sand and latex paint, taped off the court, and finally painted the chalk lines by hand.

The tennis players aren’t stopping there. The club will hold more fundraisers and more appeals to elected officials. When the money is there, Hoess wants to hire a professional crew to resurface the courts instead of his colleagues.

After the volunteers’ hard work, the city installed a new net.

The conditions on the other six courts remain pretty ugly. Many courts have multiple cracks, which can cause balls to fly in unexpected directions, giving a new meaning to the phrase “double fault.”

That’s not the worst of it.

On each court, the top layer has been worn down after years of use. The uneven surfaces are pockmarked with the remaining layer of asphalt, which wears down tennis balls and can be hard on players’ knees. Sand collects in the asphalt stone underneath, causing the surface to become slippery.

“I see a lot of people slide and fall. It is pretty dangerous,” said Hoess.

Last October, McCarren Tennis threw its first fundraiser, a 64-field tennis tournament and dance party on the courts, which brought in $2,500. At the time, the group explored the possibility of expanding its tennis courts to a neighboring concrete softball field, but that idea was quickly quashed and the players remain focused on fixing existing courts.

For now, tennis players are enjoying the smooth ride of a game on court seven.

“I played on it yesterday and it was a lot better on my knees and joints. It felt like a real park instead of a war zone,” said Hoess.

The Parks Department said that cost is the reason that the tennis courts are on the back-burner.

“A complete upgrade of the tennis courts would cost approximately $1 million and involve repairing the asphalt, upgrading the drainage, installing lights, and resizing the courts to meet USTA standards,” said an agency spokesman. “We’re very grateful that this organization worked with the Open Space Alliance to raise funds and hope that the one court that they were able to work on will encourage other funding sources to become available for additional work.”

The spokesman claimed that the agency remains committed to major improvements throughout McCarren Park.

“Capital projects over the past few years include a new skate park, lighting at the track, the redesign of the soccer field, and $50 million allocated to restore McCarren Pool,” he said.

Pin It
Print this story Permalink

Reader Feedback

John M from Williamburg says:
The city said "“We’re very grateful that this organization worked with the Open Space Alliance to raise funds and hope that the one court that they were able to work on will encourage other funding sources to become available for additional work.”"

How about the "funding source" that is our $100/year permit fee? The Parks Department is a JOKE.
May 17, 2010, 2:42 pm
Sam from Williasmburg says:
It cost these people $4,500 to reasonably upgrade 1 court of 7. Using a math operation known as "multiplication," we can see it would cost a total of $31,500 to upgrade all the courts and have them be much more playable.

Instead the Parks Department agency spokesman says that they need *thirty times* that amount, or $1,000,000, to bring the courts to full repair. Granted, that quote includes lights, larger courts, and probably half a million dollars that will go into crook's wallets.

It doesn't need to be an all or nothing thing. Spend $40,000 and fix up the courts, and worry about the additional $960,000 some other time. This argument of "too expensive" is absurd. It's like me saying: "I can't fix this pothole on the road because it will require $1,000,000 to repave the entire road, repaint it, install street lights, etc".

Dear World: —— off with stupid logic.
May 25, 2010, 4:04 pm
richie rich from parkslope says:
the nyc parks dept is lazy and crooked. they should all be fired and privatize.
May 26, 2010, 12:31 pm

Enter your comment below

By submitting this comment, you agree to the following terms:

You agree that you, and not BrooklynPaper.com or its affiliates, are fully responsible for the content that you post. You agree not to post any abusive, obscene, vulgar, slanderous, hateful, threatening or sexually-oriented material or any material that may violate applicable law; doing so may lead to the removal of your post and to your being permanently banned from posting to the site. You grant to BrooklynPaper.com the royalty-free, irrevocable, perpetual and fully sublicensable license to use, reproduce, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, distribute, perform and display such content in whole or in part world-wide and to incorporate it in other works in any form, media or technology now known or later developed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Links