US SQUASH

First Outdoor Public Court May Open a Door to Squash’s Future

(image: Public Squash)

In a first for the sport of squash, the Public Squash Foundation, ASB Squash and the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation have installed the world’s first all-glass, free-to-play, public squash court. It is located in Hamilton Fish Park at 128 Pitt Street in New York City’s Lower East Side.

The court is currently open for play every day from 6am-9pm on a first-come first-serve basis with a limit of one hour of play.

After a three year process of fundraising, planning and installing, the court was officially unveiled during a special ribbon cutting ceremony on April 17. Funded by the Public Squash Foundation, the court will remain in the park until October 17 as a part of the city’s Adopt-a-Park program.

“It is exciting to work with the Public Squash to bring an amenity as unique as outdoor squash to one of our city parks,” said Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks Commissioner during the opening ceremony. “Athletic activity benefits us mentally and physically; and falling in love with a sport like squash can expose us to worlds we may never have otherwise come into contact with.”

The court’s first scheduled programming, a youth clinic with beginner drills and instruction from certified squash coaches, takes place on Saturday, May 12, from 10am-12pm. For more information on the clinic, visit publicsquash.org.

“We often benefit from new amenities and refurbishments that come to parks through the Adopt-a-Park program,” Silver said. “Young people from the Hamilton Fish rec center will be able to sign up for clinics right on this court thanks to the city parks foundation. Now a sport that is often deemed out of reach from the masses is now right here in the lower east side for the public to enjoy for the next six months.”

Since its construction, the court has generated national coverage in The New York Times and Vogue. Representing New York’s 7th district, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez voiced her support for the initiative.

“I am excited any time we can encourage more physical activity and exercise among our young people and the opening of this court offers a valuable new outlet for our community,” Velázquez said. “I look forward to seeing the recreational opportunities this new project affords our neighborhood!”

US Squash president & CEO Kevin Klipstein believes that outdoor public squash courts has the potential to create future access to the sport nationwide.

“Increasing access to squash will be a focus of ours for at least the next decade as we look to take the number of courts in the U.S. from 2,600 to 10,000,” Klipstein said. “The guys at Public Squash deserve credit for their innovative thinking, and ultimately for making this court a reality. Beyond access, all-glass outdoor courts have the potential to completely reshape people’s perception of the sport and to really boost awareness of squash.”

The court stands at 18.5′ tall, 32′ long and 21′ wide. With no roof and open air play, the first-of-its-kind floor is made of a special elastic material with drainage capabilities for precipitation. The Hamilton Fish Park court marks the first of what Public Squash hopes to be many more courts of its kind constructed around the world.

“Bringing squash outside, and making it free to the public, is the best way to give access to all, and increase the visibility of the game,” said Ryan Wall, director of Public Squash.

For more information visit publicsquash.org.

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