why did it take me five years to figure this out — tennis in the park

I live within two Google satellite zoom-out clicks from the pictured above tennis courts in Central Park. Most indoor courts in Manhattan are in the $70 per hour range and up to $120 during peak times. I had simply written off tennis as a city activity. For some reason I had assumed that there were a host of reasons why playing in the park would not be possible, impractical or expensive.

Turns out it is none of those things. You can count them, there are 30 courts, 26 of them Har-Tru, my preferred playing surface. They are well maintained. There are two options for paying for time. You can pay $7 per person for a one-day permit. You can go for the $100 season pass, which is one hour of singles per day or two hours of doubles. The season is actually pretty long, early-April through late November so $100 is a steal. Walk up without a reservation about 25 minutes before the hour and odds are there will be a court available. Or you can pay another $7 to make a specific time reservation.

There’s a little pro shop with racquet demos, a stringing machine — back in the day I used to string my own — shoes, clothes, etc. plus a snack bar in that little hut. We tried it twice at $7 per, had a fantastic time, and am jumping to the season pass option.



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