MANHATTAN (PIX11) — Pickleball seems all the rage these days, but don’t let the cutesy name fool you. Pickleball takes skill and stamina. But you don’t need much else to get started.
“You just need a court, a net paddle, a wiffleball and a net. Because it requires less square footage, you can get more courts in a space which means more people play,” said Mary Cannon, the co-founder of CityPickle.
“It’s a mix between tennis and ping-pong and there’s nothing more fun than either of those except pickleball,” said pickleball player Matthew Cohen.
Now, Pickleball players can enjoy friendly competition at Wollman Rink. The space used for ice skating during winter will now be transformed into the CityPickle courts for six months a year to host the sport’s growing popularity.
“I started playing pickleball at a Rec-center with seniors who kicked butt and I said, you know what, this is fun, and I’ve been doing it a few years,” said Brad Hershenson.
CityPickle’s founders are longtime friends who discovered the sport years ago but realized there weren’t many spaces to play in New York City. However, they said even if you have no experience playing any racket sport, a short lesson is all you need, and because there’s less running involved, people of all ages can do it.
“Honestly, just repetition and drilling, just practicing shots,” said Richard Johnstone.
“We just share a common interest of playing and so we are friends on and off the courts,” said Grace Patterson.
There are 14 courts open 14 hours a day. You can reserve a space in advance or visit during the community play hours, which offer discounted rates. All you need to do is wear comfortable athletic clothes and sneakers. CityPickle provides the rest.
“It’s phenomenal. Besides bringing together, I’m getting my exercise. I’m making friends and learning a new sport,” Sammy Musovic said.
This is one of two Central Park locations where you can play pickleball. There are also a few nets at the North Meadow handball courts, which are available year-round.