Central Park Tennis Bubble Gets East Side Questions

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The East Side’s community board backed an initial proposal in February 2009 to erect a bubble over the Central Park tennis courts during winter months, but the plan will get an additional review now that more details have been fleshed out. The Manhattan news website DNAinfo first reported concerns about pricey fees and noisy generators which prompted the change in heart among members of Community Board 8.

“We didn’t really know that much about how the generators were going to work, we didn’t really know that much about the pricing,” Jacqueline  Ludorf, chair of Board 8, said in an interview with Our Town.

The Parks Department is considering charging up to $100 per hour to play in the Central Park tennis courts when a bubble covers them in winter months.

Board 8 also voted down a year-round tennis bubble proposal at the Queensboro Oval, under the 59th Street Bridge, at its March 17 full board meeting.

As West Side Spirit has reported, Community Board 7, on the west side of the park, has given the Parks Department’s tennis bubble proposal a tepid reception. At Board 7’s latest meeting about the plan March 11, members expressed concern about noise and lights, and were unhappy that Parks officials could not say how frequently the diesel generators that light, heat and inflate the bubbles would need to be refueled. Many took issue with the proposed fee structure to access the bubbled courts: from $30 to $100 per hour. By comparison, the hourly rates at Alley Pond Tennis Center in Queens range from $25 to $58 per hour, and indoor rates at Prospect Park in Brooklyn only go as high as $70 per hour.

Parks officials have said the bubble would provide increased recreational opportunities during the winter, as well as revenue for the city.

Ludorf said Board 8 would like to review a finalized proposal, which probably won’t be available until May. Board 7 is scheduled to discussion the issue May 13.

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  • GreenTennis

    Is no one mentioning the energy consuming nature of a Pressurized Bubble…. The Bubble should erect a structure with greater care for the environment.

  • GreenTennis

    Correction “The City should erect..”

  • pkdny

    Central Park Bubble- “Winter Only”-Here's the catch.
    I ventured over to Randal's Island “Public” Courts two weeks ago on a beautiful Saturday. As you may know, Randal's Island has a Bubble over its courts same as CP wants to install. It was March 20th. I asked about the public play and was told that the public courts are not available until May 29th. I was also told that the courts close to the public Sept 8th. When I incredulously asked the manager why this was so, when Central Park tennis courts open April 3 and generally run deep into November, he flippantly told me,”That’s the deal” as he blew me off.
    So… the Randal's Island “Public” Courts are only public for 3 months out of the year. With August being almost unplayable because of the heat, that's really two months. Central Park Tennis Courts have historically been open 8 months of the year. If they install a bubble, “for the winter only”, will it continue to be open to public play for the same 8 months????? I venture to say no it wouldn’t.
    If indeed they are able to provide the same 8 month public access with a bubble, than I would be for it. Otherwise, no way. With the Taxes in this town through the roof, this would be an extremely unfair takeaway.
    And BTW, how did Randal's Island ever get such as “deal” to begin with? This is unconscionable and must be rectified.

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