Fourteen brand new top-of-the-line pickleball courts opened in Central Park on Friday morning, expanding the popular sport’s footprint in Manhattan and giving Upper East Side residents another option as the turf war continues in Carl Schurz Park.
For the next six months, pickleball fans can get their game on at Wollman Rink, located in the southeast corner of Central Park near East Drive around 63rd Street, where professional courts have been installed and which can be rented by hour from 7:00 am until 9:00 pm, seven days a week.
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During peak hours, which is pretty much all the time except for 10:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Thursday, reservations cost $120 per hour, but include admission for eight adults who can trade off their time playing on the bright blue pickleball courts. Off-peak time runs $80 an hour.
Cabanas are also available both on and off the court for those looking to take a break from the game, but must be reserved ahead of time along with court time.
There are also options for Open Play, where you’ll be matched with other players or teams for a pickup game. For those needing a little extra help, a clinic and lessons are offered by CityPickle – a NYC pickleball club.
Each day, three courts will be set aside for Community Play from 10:00 am to noon — a reservation on those courts during that time costs just $5 per person.
Pickleball is frequently described as the country’s fastest growing sport, with USA Pickleball, the national governing body, saying the game’s reach surged around 40% between 2019 to 2021 to a total of nearly five million players nationwide.
ALSO READ | ‘We Didn’t Have a Problem Until They Created One’: Pickleball Courts Spawn Turf War on the UES
Here on the Upper East Side, the three unsanctioned courts painted on top of the large asphalt activity area in Carl Schurz Park have been a source of friction among park-goers, including pickleball players, skateboarders, basketball players and school-aged kids who come to play.
Bowing to pressure, NYC Parks announced plans to create two permanent pickleball courts in that same area of the park, in hopes of relieving some of the tension that has been building for the last six months.
In the meantime, 14 brand new courts are now available just steps from the Upper East Side.
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