Red Clay Mud - Left Field. Tennis Consession Once Again Overstays Its Welcome. The Queensboro Oval softball field under the 59th Street Bridge at York Avenue is a mess this afternoon. A ball field permit was issued for this evening but the tennis concession is still there. In 2012 the community was informed that the Parks Department had granted the city's most expensive tennis concession on public parkland year-round use in a behind close door deal. The deal displaced park users in a community that has the least amount of park and open space in the entire city. (Photo: Geoffrey Croft/NYC Park Advocates) click on images to enlarge.
By Geoffrey Croft
Players checking on the field for the opening game this evening were surprised to find out it was still a construction sight.
Permit holder Bradley Cohen was forced to cancel tonight's game after seeing the "utter mess."
"This is further abuse to the time of our already short season. We now have ten playing dates (vs. 11)," Mr. Cohen wrote to his players.
Sutton East Tennis Club began taking down the tennis bubble on Friday - more than two months after the beginning of the baseball season.
The privatization of the ball field had been an ongoing issue under the free-wheeling business first Bloomberg administration.
"Maybe the new administration will do more to protect the interests of the 'little guys' from the ever continuing encroachment of business interests, said Bradley Cohen, who received the permits.
"All we want to do is play softball after work on a summer night. Is that too much to ask?"
Home plate. Upscale Tennis Land grab Rears Its Ugly Head Again. The Queensboro Oval softball field is the only publicly accessible lit, non-asphalt field available for miles.
The city is allowing the private courts to operate a 38 week season ending June 7, plus several more weeks needed to build and take down the facility.
In 2012 irate ball field users and Community Board 8 members were blindsided when they found out Sutton Place Tennis Club, run by Tony Scolnick was granted an additional six weeks to run his private tennis concession club in yet another behind closed-door deal orchestrated by the Parks Department's revenue division.
Betsy Smith, then head of revenue and marketing for the Parks Department and Mayor Bloomberg family friend, and Manhattan Parks Commissioner William Castro were the point people.
According to Ms. Smith, the reason for the extension was because the concessioner made a "substantial investment" to convert the bubble to year-around. (without first checking with the community)
Castro publicly stated on several occasions in 2010 that the city would listen to the community in making its determination.
For years ballplayers have bitterly complained that the city was allowing the fields to deteriorate. They also said dedicated maintenance mitigation funds from a nearby building were not allocated there.
Many asked where the money was.
For over 40 years, The Queensboro Oval Field, located along York Avenue under the 59th Street Bridge in Manhattan, has been a home to baseball, softball, soccer, football, schools, leagues, families, joggers, and children learning to ride bikes and pick-up recreation activities in a beloved public park. It has been and continues to be a vital resource for countless people. It is the only publicly accessible lit, non-asphalt field available for miles. Even though this community has the least amount of park and open space in the entire city.
Mayor Bloomberg and Betsy Smith displaced children and the community by taking away this park.
A Walk In The Park