If you are looking for a fun, social, and healthy activity to enjoy in New York City, try pickleball. Pickleball is a sport that combines elements of tennis, ping pong, and badminton. It is played on a smaller court with a perforated plastic ball and solid-faced paddles. It is easy to learn, suitable for all ages and skill levels, and one of the fastest-growing sports in the United States.
In this article, you will learn how to play pickleball, why it is so popular in NYC, and where to play it.
So grab your paddle, and let’s catch up on NYC pickleball courts!
Where to Play Pickleball in NYC?
If you are looking for places to play pickleball in NYC, you have several options depending on your location, skill level, and preference. Here are some of the best pickleball courts and communities in NYC:
- Roosevelt Island: This island has two dedicated pickleball courts on asphalt with nets. You can join open play sessions hosted by Joyce Short on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 AM to 12 PM or play anytime on a first-come, first-serve basis. You can also join the Slack Community channel #games _ roosevelt_island or the TeamReach group code MyPickle for updates and communication.
- James J Walker Park, Greenwich Village: This park has two courts on asphalt, but you need to bring your portable net (BYON). You can organize play sessions with the West Village Pickleball community using the TeamReach group code NYCPMJJW. These courts are close to the ones at Houston and 6th.
- Happy Warrior Playground, UWS: This playground has one court on asphalt and maybe room for more. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). You can organize play sessions with other players using the Slack group channel #games_happy-warrior-playground.
- DeWitt Clinton Park, Hell’s Kitchen: This park has two painted courts and one taped court on asphalt. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). There is no scheduled or organized play here, so it is first come, first serve.
- Carl Schurz Park, Yorkville: This park has three painted courts near the water. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). There is open play throughout the day, and you can also join the TeamReach group code UESPickleball for updates and communication.
- St. Catherine’s Park, Upper East Side: This park has five taped or chalked courts on the athletic field. You can join open play sessions hosted by David Velasquez and the NYC Parks Department on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10 AM to 1 PM.
- William F. Passannante Ballfield (Houston & 6th), West Village: This ballfield has seven painted courts on asphalt. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). There is no scheduled or organized play here, so it is first come, first serve.
- St. Vartan Handball Courts, Murray Hill: This park has four handball courts that can be used for pickleball. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). There is no scheduled or organized play here, so it is first come, first serve.
- Central Park North Meadow Handball Courts, Central Park West: This park has four handball courts that can be used for pickleball. You also need to bring your portable net (BYON). There is no scheduled or organized play here, so it is first come, first serve.
- Wollman Rink at Central Park: This rink has been transformed into the largest pickleball installation in the Northeast, with 12 courts on a synthetic surface. You can book a court online or walk in and rent paddles and balls if needed. You can also join clinics, leagues, and tournaments for players of all skill levels.
Why Are New Yorkers Obsessed With Pickleball?
Pickleball has been gaining popularity nationwide, especially in New York City, where it has become part of the local culture and lifestyle. Here are some of the reasons why New Yorkers love pickleball:
1. Social and Interactive
Pickleball is a sport that fosters communication, camaraderie, and community. Players can chat with each other during breaks, cheer for their teammates, and make new friends. Pickleball also offers a way to stay connected and active during the pandemic, as it allows for physical distancing and outdoor play.
Many pickleball groups and communities have formed in NYC, using apps like Slack and TeamReach to organize play sessions, share updates, and exchange tips.
2. Accessible and Inclusive
Pickleball is a sport that anyone can play, regardless of age, gender, background, or ability. The rules are simple, the equipment is affordable, and the court is small. Pickleball does not require a lot of strength, speed, or stamina but rather strategy, coordination, and finesse.
Pickleball also accommodates different skill levels, as players can adjust the pace and intensity of the game according to their preferences. Beginners and experts alike will enjoy playing pickleball, which creates an inclusive and diverse environment.
3. Fun and Challenging
Pickleball is a sport that offers both enjoyment and excitement. Players can experience the thrill of hitting a winning shot, the satisfaction of improving their skills, and the joy of sharing a laugh with their opponents.
Pickleball also challenges players to think creatively, react quickly, and adapt to different situations. Pickleball never gets boring, as each game is different and unpredictable.
4. Trendy and Innovative
Pickleball is a sport that reflects the spirit and identity of New York City. It is trendy, as it appeals to the fashion-conscious and hip crowd that likes to try new things and be part of a movement. It is also innovative, transforming existing spaces and facilities into new opportunities for recreation and entertainment.
For example, Wollman Rink at Central Park has been converted into the largest pickleball installation in the Northeast, with 12 courts on a synthetic surface that offer clinics, leagues, and tournaments.
How to Get Started With Pickleball in NYC?
If you are interested in playing pickleball in NYC, you might wonder how to get started. Here are some steps you can take to join the pickleball community and have a great time:
Get the Right Equipment
You need a paddle, a ball, and a court to play pickleball. You can buy or rent paddles and balls at some of the places mentioned above or order them online. There are many types and brands of paddles and balls, so try different ones to see what works best for you.
You can also wear comfortable clothes and shoes suitable for lateral movement. You don’t need unique clothing or footwear to play pickleball, but you might want to avoid wearing sandals or flip-flops for safety reasons.
Find a Place to Play
As we have seen, there are many places to play pickleball in NYC, both indoors and outdoors. You can use websites like Places2Play.org or PickleballCentral.com to find courts near you. You can also use apps like Slack or TeamReach to join groups and communities that organize play sessions and events.
For more information on recreation centers offering pickleball lessons and open play, visit NYC Parks. Call ahead or check online for availability and reservation policies before you go.
Learn the Basics
Pickleball is a simple game to learn, but it has some unique rules and terms that you should familiarize yourself with before you play. For example, you need to know how to serve underhand, how to score points, and what is the non-volley zone (also known as the kitchen).
You can watch videos online or read articles that explain the basics of pickleball for beginners. You can also ask other players or coaches for tips and advice. Most pickleball players are friendly and helpful, and they will be happy to teach you the ropes.
Practice Your Skills
Once you have learned the basics of pickleball, you can practice your skills by playing with other players or doing drills by yourself or with a partner. You can improve your serve, your return, your volley, your dink, your lob, and your smash by doing specific exercises that target these shots.
You can also work on your footwork, balance, coordination, and reaction time by doing agility drills and warm-ups. Practice makes perfect, and the more you do it, the more confident and proficient you will become.
The most important thing to remember when playing pickleball is to have fun. Pickleball is a sport meant to be enjoyable, social, and challenging. Don’t worry too much about winning or losing, making mistakes, or looking silly.
Just focus on having a good time with your friends or making new ones. Pickleball is a sport that can bring you joy, health, and happiness.
Yes, there are many pickleball courts in NYC, indoors and outdoors. You can find courts in various parks, playgrounds, recreation centers, and even Central Park’s Wollman Rink. You can use websites or apps to find courts near you and join play sessions with other players.
Pickleball in Central Park costs money depending on the time and day you play. You can book a court online or walk-in at the Wollman Rink, which has been converted into 14 pickleball courts on a synthetic surface. Peak hours are 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Off-peak hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Court reservations (up to 8 players) cost $120 per hour during peak hours and $80 per hour during off-peak hours. You can also rent paddles and balls for $6 each if needed.
One place to play pickleball in the Bronx, NY, is Van Cortland Park, which has pickleball courts, according to the NYC Parks website. However, more information about these courts’ availability and reservation must be provided. Another option is to join an NYC Parks recreation center that offers pickleball lessons and open play—for example, the Alfred E Smith Recreation Center in Two Bridges. You need a membership to access these centers and follow city and state health and safety mandates. You can also use websites or apps like Places2Play.org or PickleballCentral.com to find more courts near you.
Yes, you can play pickleball every day if you enjoy it and have no health issues that prevent you from doing so. Playing pickleball regularly can improve your physical and mental health. It includes improving your cardio-respiratory fitness, boosting your mood, and stimulating your brain. However, you should also listen to your body and take breaks to avoid overuse injuries or burnout. You should also warm up properly, stretch after playing, and hydrate well.
No, you do not need to be fit to play pickleball. Pickleball is a sport anyone can play, regardless of age, gender, background, or ability. The rules are simple, the equipment is affordable, and the court is small. Pickleball does not require strength, speed, or stamina but strategy, coordination, and finesse. Pickleball also accommodates different skill levels, as players can adjust the pace and intensity of the game according to their preferences. Beginners and experts alike are welcome at pickleball.
Well, Let’s Wrap Up!
Pickleball is a sport that has taken over NYC in a unique way. It is a sport that is easy to learn, fun to play, and good for your health. It is a sport that appeals to people of all ages and backgrounds. The sport fosters communication, community, and camaraderie.
If you want to join the pickleball craze in NYC, you can follow the steps above to get started. You can find a place to play, get the right equipment, learn the basics, practice your skills, and have fun.
Pickleball is more than just a sport. It is a lifestyle. And it is waiting for you in NYC.
I am a professional physiotherapist and the author of the BallSportsPro. I worked with athletes of all levels, from amateur to professional, and i helped them overcome injuries and improve their performance. I am a certified Pickleball instructor and has been playing the sport for over 10 years.