Playing tennis in NYC

2211416736_1There are a limited amount of indoor tennis courts in New York City.  Just lack of space and the cost of real estate really.  It is the one sport that is really difficult to play during the winter months in New York City.

In the summer, Josh played in Amagansett.  There is a terrific tennis program with tennis pros at Amagansett Eastside (also called Sportstime).  Lots of courts, beautiful setting and really friendly and engaging people.

I have now attempted twice to get our kids tennis lessons during the cold months in New York City.  Mind you, it isn’t passion but they were excited about the possibility.

We first started at Midtown Tennis where Emily took lessons.  The facility is dinghy.  If they swept the place or even attempted to update it over the past 40 years that would come as a complete surprise to me.  The instructors had no personality and were so unengaged that it was hard to keep anyones interest.  Especially a 10 year old.  After one semester of tennis, we bagged.  I had many conversations with the people that ran the courts but at the end of the day, they could care less. 

Josh was offered the opportunity to play at Sutton East this year with 2 kids.  I figured, why not.  Maybe this place is better.  We had an instructor who was so verbally abusive to the kids that is was shocking that they didn’t fire him on the spot.  No, instead after we complained and talked to the supervisor, he decided that it would be okay to continue to be coached by the same guy.  He’d talk to him.  Maybe he thought that the kids wouldn’t remember the abuse from the week before.  Who knows.  Josh remembered and didn’t get why they didn’t change coaches.  On top of that, the guy who runs the program wanted nothing to do with me. 

Although I am not a believer in quitting mid-stream, for this I let Josh opt out.  I was so disgusted with the treatment of not only him but me, I thought that I was also teaching Josh a lesson but letting him opt out.  We are paying customers.  Josh got most of the brunt from the instructor and came home crying.  Nice right?

Perhaps it is pure economics.  Supply/demand.  There is very little supply in the city for indoor tennis courts and lots of demand.  Maybe knowing that the customer is in the palm of their hand is the reason the attitude is if you don’t like our disgusting facility, our nasty coaches, our boring coaches and the way we run things, don’t play.  Don’t play is exactly what we did.

Comments (Archived):

  1. anon

    I probably shouldn’t tell you about the courts on the south side of Prospect Park. Really nice facility a few blocks from the F train. Great courts, great pros, Bubble in the winter, outdoor with lights in the summer. Ooops….

  2. a selmes

    Hi G Gal. My son takes tennis at Riverbank State Park at 145 and Riverside Drive. The 2 coaches are great (positive and fun, but serious about teaching the kids), and the cost is next to nothing. I’d advise calling to get on the mailing list and having a look at their sports programs. Yes its a pain to get to, but it has been very worth it for our budget conscious family! good luck.

  3. D

    I go on Staten Island. They have a lot of indoor, outdoor, heated, multiple surface courts. It’s worth the drive for the cheaper prices.

  4. Jonathan

    Alas, condos are a lot more profitable than tennis bubbles. Try Jeff Nerenberg Tennis Academy (718 549-9391). They teach up at the Columbia University courts next to Baker Field. Very easy to get to up the West Side Highway and there is parking or you can take the 1/9. Jeff is a sweeetheart and his staff is great. They are on a wait-list basis only (they get booked very quickly), but you might get an occasional private if there is a cancellation.

  5. anon

    In defense of Sutton East Tennis Club and its program, the information provided is niether complete nor accurate. I am very aware of the exact situation mentioned above and steps were promptly taken after this complaint was brought to the attention of the supervisor. Although the instructor denied any wrongdoing, he was replaced two weeks later in response to the concerns of the client. To this day, all members of the class have continued in the program with the exception of Josh.