When NYU shuttered its Coles Sports Center, we mourned the loss of its squash courts– one of the only downtown places where you could reenact the racquetball scene from Manhattan. Problem solved: The Parks Department today opened a public squash court in Hamilton Fish Park– said to be the first of its kind in the world.
The court, which takes over one of the park’s four handball courts, will be in full effect for the next six months. As you can see from the photo, the open-air, elastic-floor court is enclosed in glass and is 18.5’ tall, nearly 32’ long and 20’ wide. It’s the first court to be installed by Public Squash, a non-profit founded in 2015 and dedicated to bringing the traditionally hoity-toity sport to the masses.
Search engine data found that New Yorkers search for squash courts four times more often than handball courts, according to Public Squash. “Not to mention there are 2009 handball courts, and not one squash court,” their website says. The non-profit was founded by a group of squash-playing friends, one of whom is aptly named Brian Wall.
Starting next month, local youth can sign up for free weekly squash clinics.
Not everyone is a fan. “Taking public space, enclosing it and then making it private for two people,” one Instagram wrote, in response to the Parks announcement. “How many public schools in nyc have squash programs? How is this at all relevant to the broad spectrum of New Yorkers?”
The squash court is on the Stanton Street side of Hamilton Fish Park, which is on Pitt Street, between East Houston and Stanton Streets.