Archives of the Mayor's Press Office

Thursday, April 20, 2000

Release #144-00

Contact: Sunny Mindel/Edward Skyler 212-788-2958
Robert Lawson (Parks) (212) 360-1311



Citywide Handball Tournament to Kick-off This Summer

Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani announced today that the Parks Department   will renovate 1,500 handball courts across New York City. Handball is one of New York City's most popular playground sports. Parks is restoring and beautifying 500 handball courts across the city by the end of this year and 1,500 courts total by the end of the three-year program. Parks Commissioner Henry J. Stern and Paul Williams, President of the Inner City Handball Association, joined the Mayor at the Chelsea Park handball courts for the announcement.

"Handball is New York City's quintessential playground sport, popular among both school children and adults," Mayor Giuliani said. "Each court should be in top condition and this initiative will renovate 75% of the City's courts, making sure that they are ready for the intense competition and great fun that they host. I would like to thank Commissioner Stern for making sure that no one is disappointed when they play."

Parks Commissioner Stern said, "Handball is one of New York City's most popular playground sports. It's as New York as egg cream. To celebrate this, we will renovate most of the City's courts and host the first ever city-sponsored handball tournament."

During the renovations, Park workers will remove excess paint from walls, and clear up cracks in the courts. Crews from each borough will bring every court back to its original state through power-washing, graffiti removal, and by filling expansion joints and cracks on the court. Every wall surface will be smoothed and painted with new lines for the enjoyment of New York's handball connoisseurs. 500 courts will be rehabilitated each year for the next three years. The Parks Department maintains 2,052 handball surfaces (constituting one wall surface and the painted court area) citywide; 406 in the Bronx; 673 in Brooklyn; 277 in Manhattan; 640 in Queens; and 56 in Staten Island.

In addition, this summer Parks & Recreation will host its first ever handball tournament at six sites citywide: West 5th St. & Surf Ave. on Coney Island in Brooklyn; Orchard Beach in the Bronx; Central Park's North Meadow and Stanley Isaacs Park in Manhattan; Beach 109th St. in Far Rockaway in Queens; and Mason Playground in Staten Island. On Saturday, June 17th and Sunday, June 18th, participants will enter into four divisions of Singles and Doubles and compete for the citywide championship. To sign up for the tournament, please call (516) 481-8950.