Pickleball, a booming sport, is coming to Brooklyn Bridge Park

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Brooklyn Bridge Park has now added three pickleball courts to Pier 2.

The new courts come as the sport of pickleball, invented in the 1960s in the Pacific Northwest, has become increasingly popular in Brooklyn, the rest of New York and across the country.

In fact, in 2021, the Sport and Fitness Industry Association declared pickleball “the fastest growing sport in America.” The organization also estimated that 4.2 million people played pickleball in 2020, up 21% from the previous year.

The three pickleball courts replace the underutilized bocce courts that have been on the pier since 2014, according to Brooklyn Bridge Park.

The game combines elements of ping pong, badminton and tennis. It can be played indoors or outdoors on a badminton court with a modified tennis net. Players hold a ping-pong type racket that has a longer handle and hit a plastic ball with holes in it.

A game of pickleball at Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge. YouTube picture

The sport, which can be played by people of all ages, has quickly spread to community centers, parks (including McCarren Park in Greenpoint and Leif Ericson Park in Bay Ridge), health clubs, YMCAs and retirement communities.

“We are thrilled to bring the sport to Brooklyn Bridge Park,” said Eric Landau, President of Brooklyn Bridge Park, “It is great exercise, enjoyed by all age groups, and is becoming increasingly popular. .”

“Brooklyn Bridge Park is already a great space for everyone in Brooklyn,” Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said. “Especially at this time, when our outdoor spaces are so crucial, I’m glad the park is able to meet the demand for fun and social activities that Brooklynites want, like pickleball.”

“The new pickleball courts replacing the underutilized bocce courts at Pier 2 indicate that Brooklyn Bridge Park is constantly staying one step ahead. New Yorkers win when our public spaces meet the needs of our communities. I will be on the courts next spring! said council member Lincoln Restler, who represents the area.

The Brooklyn pickleballers pose for a group photo at Leif Ericson Park. YouTube picture

“Bringing pickleball to the park not only recognizes the growing popularity of the sport, but also affirms Brooklyn Bridge Park’s ongoing commitment to being a world-class waterfront park,” said Brooklyn native and avid Pickleball player Ira Katz.

One of the largest and most significant public projects to be built in New York in a generation, Brooklyn Bridge Park has transformed a once dilapidated industrial waterfront into a vibrant and thriving 85-acre civic landscape. The park stretches 1.3 miles (2.1 km) from Atlantic Avenue south to Jay Street north of the Manhattan Bridge, covering the neighborhoods of Brooklyn Heights and DUMBO along the East River.

The self-contained park was designed by award-winning Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Inc. and features expansive lawns, rolling hills, waterfront promenades, innovative playgrounds, a greenway, sports facilities and the popular Jane’s Carousel.

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