Pickleball, fast-growing sport, comes to Brooklyn Bridge Park
Pickleball in, bocce out at Pier 2
Brooklyn Bridge Park has now added three pickleball courts at Pier 2.
The new courts come as the sport of pickleball, invented in the 1960s in the Pacific Northwest, has become more and more popular in Brooklyn, in the rest of New York City and around the country.
Indeed, in 2021, the Sport and Fitness Industry Association declared pickleball “the fastest growing sport in America.” The organization also estimated that 4.2 million people played pickleball in 2020, up 21 percent from the year before.
The three pickleball courts replace the underutilized bocce courts that have been on the pier since 2014, according to Brooklyn Bridge Park.
The game combines elements of ping pong, badminton and tennis. It can be played either indoors or outdoors on a badminton-sized court with a modified tennis net. Players hold a ping-pong-type paddle that has a longer handle and hit a plastic ball with holes.
The sport, which can be played by people of all ages, has spread rapidly within community centers, parks (including both McCarren Park in Greenpoint and Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge), health clubs, YMCAs and retirement communities.
“We are excited to bring this sport to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Eric Landau, president of Brooklyn Bridge Park, “It is great exercise, enjoyed by all age groups, and keeps getting more and more popular.”
“Brooklyn Bridge Park is already a great space for all Brooklynites to enjoy, said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Especially in this time, when our outdoor spaces are so crucial, I’m happy that the park is able to be responsive to demand for fun, social activities that Brooklynites want, like pickleball.”
“The new pickleball courts replacing the underutilized bocce courts at Pier 2 signal that Brooklyn Bridge Park consistently stays ahead of the curve. New Yorkers win when our public spaces are responsive to what our communities need. I’ll be on the courts next spring!” said Councilmember Lincoln Restler, who represents the area.
“Bringing pickleball to the park not only recognizes the increasing popularity of the sport, but also affirms the ongoing commitment of Brooklyn Bridge Park to being a world-class waterfront park,” said Ira Katz, native Brooklynite and an avid Pickleball player.
Brooklyn Bridge Park, one of the largest and most significant public projects to be built in New York City in a generation, has transformed a once dilapidated industrial waterfront into a vibrant and thriving 85-acre civic landscape. The park stretches 1.3 miles from Atlantic Avenue in the south to Jay Street north of the Manhattan Bridge, spanning the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO along the East River.
The self-sustaining park was designed by the award-winning firm of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel.
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