Back in late 2009, we were among the many groups and individuals who objected to the city's doubling of tennis permit fees. There were a lot of reasons for our opposition: the fact that tennis players already paid the highest per capita fees of any organized sport in the city, the fact that it would discourage adoption of the game, and of course that tennis players didn't get anything for the money we paid -- after all, it was the USTA and AmEx who had resurfaced our courts, not the city. One other argument we made, however, was that the city wouldn't even benefit from the rate increases. You don't have to be Paul Krugman to realize that raising rates on shitty (relatively) public courts so they are more expensive than all other Park activities and more expensive than most private facilities would result in a dramatic downturn tennis activity -- or an upturn in sneaking on the courts.
Well, we're unhappy to say that both were true. Read the article from the NY Times and weep.
Next time, the Parks Department might try to listen to the audience they're trying to sell permits to.
As many of you have heard, the bubble has been delayed for a year. Apparently after getting clearance from Parks to start construction, the concessionaires also needed to get a required permit from the Department of Buildings. Because that process takes 6-8 weeks at the minimum, the construction work wouldn't have been complete until October, and then it takes 3 months for the dome to be constructed per specs that become available after the construction is complete.
So ... no dome in 2013/2014 season. But at least our outdoor season won't be interrupted by construction -- and one hopes that the construction can be better timed to prevent disruption to spring/summer play next year.
At long last, we have some definitive news on the tennis bubble at our dear courts. Drum roll please ... the bubble will be up this October! After 2 years of wrangling with Parks, the concession has been awarded, permits granted, and everything is set. There are a few great wins for the community beyond the bubble, but there also will be some serious disruption during construction. Here are the pros and cons:
- The bubble company has agreed to install lights in the fall. This was part of his bid. These are exterior lights (there are different lights inside the dome) which will enable play on 3 courts during the permit season -- so this means we'll have night tennis as well as night soccer in the neighborhood. In 2016, lights will expand to cover all 6 courts.
- The bubble company would become responsible for all maintenance of the courts year round -- fixing the surface, fencing, nets, drainage, etc.
- We'll be able to play tennis in the winter ... for a fee, of course.
- There will be a trailer structure parked near the courts, which will be a pro-shop and concessions for the dome, as well as where you check in and pay. So you can have your rackets strung, buy balls, etc.
- Dome construction would start by end of June. This would involve cutting a 3' channel, about 4' deep, on both sides of the courts, pouring concrete and setting the anchor structure for the dome. Once completed, the anchors will not affect play, but there will be a disruption for 2-4 weeks once construction starts. This is unfortunately, but construction would have to start very soon to have the bubble ready for this winter.
- The bubble will go up in mid October and come down at the end of April. This period is outside of permit season, so no tennis permits are required to use the dome, but of course there are court fees. So effectively, there will be a period (November, April) when people could have played for free but now will have to pay. This was of course a source for debate during the RFP process.
At this time, pricing has not been set but it was limited in the RFP so you can probably expect it to be in line with Prospect Park. Questions? Ask them below and we'll try to get answers.
We're back!! Sign-ups for the 2013 McCarren Tennis Ladder will begin immediately, so register here. The season will officially start May 15. This year there will be 4 separate ladders: a women's ladder, 3.5 ladder, 4.0 ladder, and 4.5+ ladder (to be clear: women may play in any of the ladders, but men may not play in the women's ladder).
Initial seeding will be based on the results of last year's ladder. If you are joining for the first time, or if you sign up after May 15th, you will automatically be added to the bottom of the ladder. Please review the full set of rules here. The entry fee will be $35.01 per player.
This year we will be using Tennisrungs.com to run our ladder. Once you fill out the registration form and pay, a ladder administrator will send you an email to invite you to join Tennisrungs.com. If you have any questions, please contact the administrators of the ladder that you're interested in playing in.
Women's Ladder - Anastasiya Konopitskaya (firstname.lastname@example.org)
3.5 Ladder - Michael Truong (email@example.com)
4.0 Ladder - Drew Malcolm (firstname.lastname@example.org)
4.5 Ladder - Michael Moshan (email@example.com)
We would like to send a special shout out to Tim Owens, co-founder of Tennisrungs.com, who graciously donated a lifetime membership to McCarren Tennis!! Tennisrungs.com removes all the headaches that comes with running a tennis ladder, allowing easy access for players to challenge, report scores, and view match statistics online. If you know of anyone else who participates in a tennis ladder, please help spread the word about Tennisrungs.com. Thank you Tim, we are really looking forward to using your website for our ladder this year!
Eric Gonda! Congratulations to Eric for beating Wojtek Januszko 4-6, 7-5, 10-4 in a closely contested ladder final match this afternoon. Unleashing punishing ground strokes, Wojtek built an early lead before Eric nabbed a crucial break to run away with the second set. With the momentum finally on his side, Eric eked out the win in the super tiebreak to become the first McCarren Ladder Champion.
Thank you to everyone who came out this afternoon to watch the final, and more importantly, to everyone who participated in the ladder this year. It was another successful fundraiser for the maintenance of the courts. See you next year!
We are excited to announce that the Lincoln Terrace Tennis Association has invited McCarren Tennis to play against them in a one day tournament next Saturday, September 8th starting at 12pm. LIncoln Terrace is located on Buffalo Ave, between Eastern Parkway and East New York Ave. Players of all levels are welcome (they have players ranging from Division I college players to people who are just learning the game). Food and refreshments will be provided. I have led team McCarren against Lincoln Terrace in the King's Cup three years in a row now and I can personally attest that not only are they a group of great people, they are also tennis fanatics! Sounds familiar? If you're interested in playing, please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
As the inaugural season of our singles ladder winds to a close, we would like to thank everyone who participated this year for making it a success. Every dollar of your donations will go a long way to help maintain the courts.
Don't forget the week of August 28th will be the last week for the regular season. On September 2nd, the top 16 players who have played at least 5 legal matches (defaults don't count) will move on to a single elimination tournament. Players will be seeded based on their ranking in the ladder. Players will arrange their own matches but we will announce all the scheduled times on the website. Who will take home the gold this year? Will it be Gonda, who has maintained an undefeated record all season, will Moshan assert his dominance once again, or is it finally Wojtek's turn to shine, proving one and for all that he is the best tennis player in Williamsburg/Greenpoint?
A friend just pointed out a nicely researched article from the Wall St. Journal entitled, "Tennis Fees Ace Out Many." It confirms our arguments when we fought against the Parks fee increases two years ago -- the fee increase has led to a steep fall-off in the number of people playing the game in New York City. The overall number of permits issued was down by a third in 2011, with even steeper declines on the horizon for 2012 (final numbers are not yet in). On the brighter side (note sarcasm), with many poorer New Yorkers priced out, there definitely have been shorter waits at the courts. We're curious what the McCarren community thinks: is the shorter wait worth the extra fees? Is this fair? Should we fight to overturn this policy? Comment below.
Regardless, the thing that particularly galls this editor is that this huge fee increase was ONLY applied against tennis. Some other rec fees went up, but nothing came close to doubling, and no other sporting activity in NYC is taxed so highly -- and receives so little in return in terms of services or maintenance.
Full article here.
Team McTennis -
adidas has been kind enough to repurchase and reprint the Bedford side windscreen -- it should be ready Monday or Tuesday, and hopefully we can get it hung by the end of next week. They're reprinting it without their adidas logo on the left side, so hopefully that will keep the neighborhood anti-corporate watchdogs (a.k.a. ignorant vandals) at bay. Please do try to spread the simple word that the windscreens on all 4 sides (including the unbranded screens) were provided by adidas, and that their gift allowed us to use our money for other needed repairs (cracks, surface, paint). Unfortunately getting any money from the Parks Department remains impossible due to budget cuts, but they have cooperated with this project from the beginning. Thanks to Stephanie Thayer of Parks and OSA for her help.
Since the repair team has to return to rehang the screens, we making sure they finish the repair work as well. Please write in if you see anything in particular that needs fixing. I know there are some line painting issues, but what else?