Tennis buffs are lobbing vitriol-fueled volleys at the city for failing to fix Marine Park’s ailing tennis courts, claiming that the play space is in varying states of disrepair and needs to be overhauled.
Dozens of tennis enthusiasts say they have fired off letters to Councilman Lew Fidler (D–Marine Park), the Parks Department, and Borough Hall, demanding new courts for Marine Park — but their pleas have gone unanswered.
“They need to be fixed,” said Hazel Remdin, a Marine Park resident who plays tennis at the corner of Fillmore Avenue and E. 32nd Street. “I’m always worried I’m going to run over a crack and twist my ankle.”
Felix Vandalous, a tennis player from Sheepshead Bay, agreed.
“There are cracks two-inches wide,” he said. “We complained a lot to the Parks Department and to Borough Hall, but they never get back to us.”
Yet Fidler claims that at least half of the people who use the courts live miles away from Marine Park — so he shouldn’t be responsible for paying the $3.75 million for fixing the 15 tennis courts.
“Most of the complaints I’ve got are not from my constituents,” said the legislator, professing ignorance about the state of the dilapidated facilities. “I don’t play tennis, so if it weren’t for the constituents telling me, I wouldn’t know.”
Fidler also said the math dashed any hopes for a unilateral makeover.
“I can’t get $3.75 million in one year,” he said. “Maybe I could, but that wouldn’t leave any money for the other parks in my district.”
Fidler is petitioning the mayor to fund tennis court refurbishments in this year’s fiscal budget, which will be finalized on June 30. If the Mayor agrees, Marine Park would receive the most money for court renovations in Brooklyn, followed by Prospect Park’s 11 courts and Dyker Beach Park’s nine courts. Manhattan Beach, which has six courts, would pick up the rear.
Yet some players who use Marine Park said it shouldn’t make a difference where the players hail from.
“Why would other people in Brooklyn not come to Marine Park?” questioned Prospect Park resident Phil Minal, who says he plays tennis in Marine Park three times a week. “Brooklyn is Brooklyn. It just makes sense.”
— with Ben LockhartReach reporter Colin MIxson at cmixson@cn