That Public Squash Court in Hamilton Fish Park Might Take a Minute to Happen

Posted on: July 13th, 2016 at 5:10 am by

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Rendering of the new squash court, Photo: Public Squash Foundation

Plans to install a public squash court on the Lower East Side, a first of its kind in New York City – are not as final as previously believed.

When we first brought word that the year-old Public Squash Foundation proposed an installation inside the Hamilton Fish Park on Pitt Street, feathers ruffled almost immediately. We were led to believe that the semi-permanent enclosures were all but approved by the city and would be installed this month.

Not so fast, brah.

The Daily News followed our lead last week, noting that no one at the facility, nor local park-goers were formally briefed on what was happening. Indeed, there hadn’t been a forum for community input. Until this week, that is, when the Parks subcommittee of Community Board 3 will hear the application.

For its part, the city’s Parks Department does support the squash court, and even chose this as a location. However, implementation is still on the horizon, as there is plenty of red tape to navigate.

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“[The proposal] is not yet finalized and must go through several more stages of administrative review before it becomes a reality,” Parks spokesperson Sam Biederman tells us in an email.

As previously reported, the Public Squash Foundation aims to construct an all-glass, weather-proof squash court in the neighborhood to make the game more accessible to the public. And also to break down the elitist vibe the game oftentimes exudes. The initial plan was a semi-permanent enclosure inside East River Park tennis courts. But that proved futile. Instead, the court will take up residence inside the Hamilton Fish Park year-round. At the expense of a handball wall.

“I know this [squash court] will propel the sport,” Public Squash co-founder Ryan Underwood Wall told us last month. He further explains that the demand for the sport in urban areas is untapped, and that there are also two enclosures on the West Coast.

But not everyone out there agrees with his enthusiasm. Responses to our ongoing coverage have been quite negative, channeling the long-held belief that squash is a sport of, by, and for the elite, and another form of gentrifying the neighborhood.

The meeting with Community Board 3 concerning the court is tomorrow evening (30 Delancey Street, 6:30pm).

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