Preservationists Fight “Elitist” Tennis Bubble

by - March 26, 2010 at 11:01 am -

tennisAt first, when the parks department announced it wanted to put a bubble over the tennis courts in Central Park so people could play comfortably in winter,  much of the opposition came from recreational tennis players upset about the possibility of high fees. But now, an Upper West Side preservationist group is fighting back, saying the bubble will create an elitist club and a possible environmental hazard. And oh yeah, it’s also ugly.

Landmark West has started a petition drive to stop the parks department from putting up a tennis bubble over the courts at 94th Street (just the clay courts would be covered, the Post reports) that could charge as much as $100 for an hour of play. Among their complaints:

  • The bubble would be 35 feet tall, one of the largest “non-historic” structures in the park.
  • The hefty price tag to play undermines the “democratic character” of the park.
  • The money would go to the city’s general fund, not to the park.
  • The generators that inflate the bubble will spew diesel fuel.

In their complaint, the group even quotes Barry Benepe, parks commissioner Adrian Benepe’s father.

“The basic purpose of Central Park is to escape the city: its buildings, events and schedule. It is to experience nature in the form of a living landscape, a landscape artfully manipulated to encourage wonder and surprise, such as the sudden view on the northwest drive over a meadow and crest of trees where no building interrupts the skyline,” Barry Benepe wrote.

Take that, Adrian!

(photo by Bobcatnorth via flickr)

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  1. P Dolan says...

    Central Park Bubble- “Winter Only”-Here’s the “Racket”.
    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.

  2. Sierra Club Joins Fight Against Central Park Tennis Bubble : Westside Independent says...

    […] Club, which has 1.3 million members nationally, is joining the fight against the tennis bubble, which opponents say is an environmental hazard and an elitist club in the center of a public park. The Sierra Club, according to DNAinfo, particularly objects to the use of diesel generators to […]