New York

Play Some Sets at the Best Public Tennis Courts in NYC

With the US Open around the corner, here's where to score your own ace.

Photo by Brad Penner, photo courtesy of USTA
Photo by Brad Penner, photo courtesy of USTA
Photo by Brad Penner, photo courtesy of USTA

Next week, starting on August 29, the iconic USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing-Meadows Corona Park is hosting the 142nd US Open tennis tournament.

And as avid tennis fans, this excitement inevitably has us pumped to hit the courts. So, whether you’re already set to rally with your tennis buddies or are on the lookout for new opponents (we highly rec programs like Play Your Court and Tennis Pal), our city’s boroughs are stocked with sublime spots to practice your forehands, backhands, and volleys.

From scoring a season or single play permit for the bevy of public courts courtesy of NYC Parks to renting out a jaw-dropping stadium spot, channel your inner Serena Williams and Rafael Nadal. Here are the best tennis courts primed for playing a few sets in New York City.

Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock
Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock
Leonard Zhukovsky/Shutterstock

USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center

Flushing-Meadows Corona Park
Nothing quite motivates your game like playing on legendary courts where history’s most beloved tennis stars have competed in epic, hours-long battles. As home of the US Open since 1978, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center has become an iconic sports symbol across the world. If you’re looking to tap into some of that talent, starting on September 18 (after this year’s tournament is finished), the facility’s indoor and outdoor hard courts will be available for hourly rentals, plus seasonal contracts. In addition, if you feel like heading out solo, ball machine rentals are available as well.
Cost: Outdoor and indoor court hourly rate from $38; seasonal contract costs vary; hourly ball machine rental from $15
How to reserve a court: Website

Warren Eisenberg/Shutterstock
Warren Eisenberg/Shutterstock
Warren Eisenberg/Shutterstock

Central Park Tennis Center

Central Park
Known for its devoted fan base running from celebrities and professional players to novices and spectators, the Central Park Tennis Center is a long-beloved NYC stalwart. Plan a weekday or weekend adventure to rally around one of the 24 green clay courts or four hard courts available on the premises, but keep in mind, it’s recommended that athletes reserve a court beforehand (as this is one of the most popular spots to play in the city). Also, if you’re looking to brush up on your skills, there’s private and semi-private lessons for all ages and levels, plus adult group clinics and cardio tennis classes. In addition, the tennis clubhouse is a perfect place to decompress post-match, featuring a pro-shop with on-site stringing, a snack bar, locker rooms, and an outdoor patio.
Cost: Free with a NYC Parks tennis permit
How to reserve a court: NYC Parks website

Riverbank State Park
Riverbank State Park
Riverbank State Park

Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park

Hamilton Heights
Along with a bevy of indoor and outdoor activities on the banks of the Hudson River, the Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park is a local favourite that touts four well-maintained hard courts on its expansive grounds. Coloured in the classic green and red, this outdoor amenity is open through November 30 and only requires a NYC Parks tennis permit to secure a court. In addition to the tennis area, the 28-acre recreational property features an indoor athletic complex, lap pool, basketball courts, a softball field, and an al fresco skating rink.
Cost: Free with a NYC Parks tennis permit
How to reserve a court: Email [email protected]

Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park
Hudson River Park

Hudson River Park Tennis Courts

Hudson Square
Picturesque waterfront views and three recently resurfaced hard tennis courts are the stars of the show at Hudson River Park. Operating on a first come, first served basis from 6 am-midnight, here, players aren’t required to have a NYC Parks tennis permit and reservations aren’t allowed. Basically, the only rules at this idyllic West Side park are to be courteous. Court time is limited to one hour if there’s a queue and a maximum of six balls are allowed per court-but other than that, play your little heart out.
Cost: Free
How to reserve a court: No reservations allowed

Flickr/Kai Brinker
Flickr/Kai Brinker
Flickr/Kai Brinker

McCarren Park Tennis Center

Williamsburg/Greenpoint
As a cherished green space shared by both Williamsburg and Greenpoint, McCarren Park is also a go-to for Brooklyn residents seeking idyllic picnics, paths for dog walking, and athletic amenities. Alongside exciting new additions like the McCarren Park House, the park’s Tennis Center is a stellar spot to challenge new competitors to a match or two. Featuring six outdoor hard courts in the warmer months, with seven indoor available from October through April, courts can be rented for a fee any day of the week, plus there’s a variety of specialty clinics and private lessons to choose from.
Cost: Hourly weekday court rentals from $42; weekend court rentals from $50
How to reserve a court: Email [email protected] or make an account online

Prospect Park
Prospect Park
Prospect Park

Prospect Park Tennis Courts

Prospect Park
As part of a $74 million restoration by the Prospect Park Alliance, this Brooklyn oasis is home to eight gorgeous green clay courts. For any tennis novices, green clay courts are made of crushed basalt (a natural green stone) and are regarded for their ability to let players slide, while being a faster surface than red clay courts. There’s day and night court availability, as well as private or group lessons led by Prospect Park tennis coaches.
Cost: Court rental reservations from $15 per hour; private lessons from $80, with a NYC Parks tennis permit
How to reserve a court: Website

Stadium Tennis Center at Mill Pond Park

South Bronx
Just south of Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, the spacious Stadium Tennis Center at Mill Pond Park is an impressive spot to drop by for your next court rental. Containing 16 hard tennis courts, 12 of which are covered by “The Bubble” dome for indoor play from October through April, this property offers athletes a state-of-the-art facility plus clubhouse. Take a private lesson from the personable tennis staff; sign up for group clinics and cardio tennis; or participate in a tournament and a seasonal adult league. Also, during outdoor season (which ends in October), you can use your NYC Parks tennis permit for walk-on unreserved court play along with the option of emailing ahead of time.
Cost: Free with a NYC Parks tennis permit
How to reserve a court: Email [email protected]

Flickr/allieâ„¢
Flickr/allieâ„¢
Flickr/allieâ„¢

Wolfe’s Pond Park

South Shore
Wolfe’s Pond Park is one of Staten Island’s largest and most idyllic waterfront parks and also touts a sweeping recreation centre with two hard tennis courts. Surrounded by foliage and playgrounds, here, the vibes are primed for low-pressure playing, whether that’s a chilled out rally with a friend or a serving practice session armed with a hopper of balls. After you’ve sweat it out, check out the outdoor roller hockey rink, walk your dog along the trails, or stroll down the beachline which looks out onto Raritan Bay.
Cost: Free with a NYC Parks tennis permit
How to reserve a court: None

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Izzy Baskette is a Staff Writer for Thrillist New York. Find her on Instagram.

New York

Scavenge for Peeps Cookies and More Fun Treats in NYC This Easter

The best Easter desserts in NYC this spring include Easter Bunny Churros and Carrot Cake Macarons.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

As spring makes its way through New York City, not only do we get to enjoy beautiful weather, stunning cherry blossoms, and cool activities priced at $Free.99, but it’s also the perfect time for some limited-edition desserts.

With Easter fast approaching, bakeries are filling their shops with tons of chocolate eggs, carrot cake-flavoured everything and all types of flavours that offer both nostalgia and innovation within the city’s dessert landscape. After you’ve picked up a cake from the city’s best new bakeries, from Easter Bunny Churros to Carrot Cake Macarons, here are 8 Easter desserts to try in NYC right now.

Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Bakery

Magnolia Bakery

Throughout April
Various locations
There’s great news for devotees of Magnolia Bakery’s Classic Banana Pudding: For Easter, the spot is mixing up the iconic dessert’s vanilla pudding with some carrot cake. The Carrot Cake Pudding is filled with freshly grated carrots, coconuts, pineapples, raisins, and walnuts. And if both bananas and carrots aren’t your thing, they’ll be offering their Classic Vanilla Cupcakes in pastel colours with a Cadbury chocolate egg hidden inside.

Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery
Photo courtesy of Funny Face Bakery

Funny Face Bakery

Through Easter Sunday
NoHo and Seaport
Known for their celebrity face and meme-worthy decorated cookies, fans of Funny Face Bakery know that a new fun design is always just around the corner. For Easter, they’ve created the adorable Hoppy Easter decorated cookie that resembles a classic box of marshmallow Peeps. Along with that, they also have the return of their fan-favourite Caramel Pretzel Chip cookie flavour, plus a set of three mini-decorated cookies perfect for gifting.

The Doughnut Project

Friday, April 7 through Easter Sunday
West Village
With the ever-changing flavours at The Doughnut Project, it’s super easy to miss out on trying out a new debut. But this Easter weekend, there will be two new flavours available. One is of course, a carrot cake doughnut topped with a cream cheese glaze, and the other is known as the Doughnut Nest-a French cruller “nest” with a cream-filled doughnut hole “egg” in the centre.

Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour
Photo by Cole Saladino, courtesy of The Fragile Flour

The Fragile Flour

Wednesday, April 5 through Easter Sunday
East Village
For stellar vegan desserts this holiday, head to The Fragile Flour, a plant-based bakery and dessert wine bar. They’re known for going all out for each holiday with a variety of new pastry options that you can pair perfectly with a glass of wine. This Easter, they’ll have a whole dessert menu that’s both delicious and gorgeous for posting on IG. The menu includes Stuffed Carrot Cake Cookies, a Lemon Cake (whole or by the slice), some festive cupcakes, and specialty macarons.

Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate
Photo courtesy of Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate

Through mid April
Midtown
For a luxurious take on Easter chocolates, browse the selections available at Kreuther Handcrafted Chocolate. You can even pick the Easter Signature Chef’s Selection for a special box curated by award-winning chefs. For something other than chocolate, choose between the Carrot Cake Macarons or the cake flavored Easter Marshmallow Trio, both of which are almost too cute to eat.

La Churreria

Throughout April
Nolita
This churro-centric spot is putting the cutest Easter spin on their crispy cinnamon churros by twisting them up into bunnies and bunny ears. At Churreria, choose from a Bunny Churro Lollipop topped with your choice of chocolate or dulce de leche and sprinkles, or the bunny ear churros in the Ube and Matcha ice cream sundae or the Ube Milkshake, both of which are made with ice cream from il laboratorio del gelato.

Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci
Photo by Briana Balducci

Lafayette

Throughout April
NoHo
You’ve surely seen this croissant tons of times while scrolling through IG or TikTok, whether it’s the Pain au Chocolat one or the latest of the month. Known as Suprêmes, these filled croissants went viral and continue to live up to the hype each time a new flavour comes out. April’s flavour-sour cherry amaretto with a Luxardo custard and toasted almonds. While you’ll have to be super early and wait in line during one of their three drops of the day to get a taste, we promise you it’ll be worth it.

Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain
Photo courtesy of Levain

Levain

Seasonal
Various locations
We all know the iconic cookies from Levain-they’re gigantic, perfectly crispy and chewy, and well worth the long lines. For spring, the shop is launching a new flavour: Caramel Coconut Chocolate Chip. Filled with gooey caramel chips, fresh shredded coconut, and melty dark chocolate, it’s one you’ve got to try while it’s still around. To further celebrate the new season, all of Levain’s storefronts will be decked out in spring floral displays, serving as the perfect backdrop for pictures.

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Alaina Cintron is an Editorial Assistant at Thrillist. Her work can also be found in Westchester Magazine, Girls’ Life, and Spoon University. When she’s not at her desk typing away, you can find her exploring a local coffee shop or baking a new recipe.

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