Volume 74, Number 24 | Octuber 13 - 19 , 2004

Villager photo by Robert Stolarik

Governor George Pataki, left, and John Whitehead, Lower Manhattan Development Corp. chairperson, at the opening ceremony for the new Hudson River Park tennis courts at Spring St.

Tennis and park: A love match

As members of the Stuyvesant High School tennis team stood by with rackets at the ready, Governor George Pataki spoke on Tuesday at the official opening of three new, hard-surface tennis courts in Hudson River Park. The courts were built with funds from the Lower Manhattan Development Corp., the agency set up to allocate post-9/11 rebuilding funds Downtown. The courts, Pataki said, are for use by one and all, “whether they’re hackers like me who play occasional tennis” or young Roddicks and Williamses like the Stuyvesant team. Praising the 5-mile-long park for “transforming the Lower West Side,” Pataki said the full project will get completed. “This park is not going to stop until it’s finished,” he vowed. John Whitehead, L.M.D.C. chairperson, said of the new courts, “This is just another symbol of how Lower Manhattan is redeveloping.” Whitehead noted balls might fly onto the highway or into the river. “You might need a little more money to raise the fences,” he said, adding the L.M.D.C. would by happy to provide it. Although some were expecting Whitehead to officially announce the corporation was allocating $74 million to the park to complete its Tribeca section, he didn’t mention it. The courts were always included in the original park plan, though not necessarily at that location, said Robert Balachandaran, former Hudson River Park Trust president, who was on hand for the event. A prior plan for an ice-skating rink at the location was withdrawn in the face of opposition from Community Board 2 and local elected officials. The rink wasn’t in the original park plan, but was a “new vision” for the park, Balachandran explained. The courts are free, but if people are waiting the players must get off after an hour.

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