Years Overdue, NYC’s First Public Squash Court Debuts at Hamilton Fish Park
In case you’ve forgetten, that highly-publicized outdoor squash court planned for Pitt Pool on the Lower East Side is still happening. In fact, it just debuted yesterday after nearly two years of delays.
The temporary squash amenity is the first of its kind in New York City – a public court open to all.
The three-year-old Public Squash Foundation had previously crowdfunded $70K and obtained a $30K interest-free loan to construct the all-glass, weather-proof squash court here on the Lower East Side. Their primary goal is to shed the stubborn elitist vibe, and make the game more accessible to the public. The initial plan, as first revealed to us in November 2015, was a semi-permanent installation inside East River Park tennis courts. Yet that proved futile. Instead, the enclosed court found a home inside the Hamilton Fish Park with the initial unveiling of summer 2016.
The court itself is a glass enclosure that cost $85,000 to install, and comes at the expense of a handball wall. Designed by manufacturer ASB, it’s easily maintained with safety glass and subfloor drainage mats to make it viable outside use. It’ll be publicly available for year-round play, completely free, and with no booking systems. “Street rules” are apparently in effect. Those with their own equipment can play for free; otherwise free rentals will be available with the Hamilton Fish Recreation Center membership for $100 per year.
The glass box will remain in place for a pilot period of one year before the powers-that-be reassess. To gauge success, the crew will review output from its time-lapse camera onsite that will relay usage trends. After the year, the Public Squash Foundation and the Parks Department will revisit.