Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).
Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series.In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him. Check out more photos after the jump… (more…)
The US Open kicks off later this month at USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, located of course in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. To celebrate, the US Open is sending out a food truck serving free stadium fare like lobster rolls, filet sliders and tacos. But as Gothamist points out, the food truck will not make any stops in Queens. All the locations will be in Manhattan — Madison Square Park on August 11th, Union Square on August 12th and Bryant Park on August 13th. The organizers told Gothamist that they “had a limited amount of time and wanted to ensure that [they] concentrated on the high traffic areas to reach the largest amount of tennis fans.” Looks like Queens is out of luck.
Apparently to make up for it, the US Open is hosting a “Queens Day” on August 20th in conjunction with the US Open qualifiers. It’ll be a free music event to “celebrate the borough.”
Already in the second week of the US Open Tennis.com decided to pen a love letter to Louis Armstrong Stadium, the second-largest stadium inside the National Tennis Center. The stadium has its quirks:
The seats are cramped, the wind swirls inside, and there are no architectural or decorative touches to please the eye. Designed and built in minimalist, modernist 1964, it’s just a concrete bowl with enormous steel light fixtures towering over it… Armstrong has what city planners would now call “a circulation problem.” Outside of Rome, it may be the most restless tennis court in the world.
Louis Armstrong was once slated for demolition, but now plans call for a revamp, expansion, and a new retractable roof. (Because the stadium was built on a landfill, it never received a roof due to concerns that the soil couldn’t support the weight.) Former United States Tennis Association president Slew Hester first spotted the stadium back in 1977, when it was abandoned and covered with snow. The arena hadn’t been in use since the 1964 World’s Fair. The USTA had outgrown the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills, so the move was made to Flushing Meadows. The rush to prepare the site for the US Open “explains why there were no bells and whistles in the design, as well as the jerry-rigged quality of its construction.” The appeal, of course, rests in the nostaliga of the building. As the author puts it, “Armstrong has a strange appeal, one that makes me wonder if memories and nostalgia don’t ultimately trump all questions of aesthetics and taste.”
Grub Street has a nice rundown of stuff to eat at this year’s US Open, which begins today. The chefs Tony Mantuano, Masaharu Morimoto, and David Burke will cook this week at the sit-down venues. There, you can expect dishes like salumi antipasto, sushi rolls, and cheesecake lollipops. Grub Street was most excited about more casual eats, including the BBQ at Hill Country and the filet mignon sandwich at East Gate Grill. There are also plenty of dosas, tacos, and burgers to be had. Any readers have their own standby meals at and around the National Tennis Center?
It’s enrichment at no cost. The New York Hall of Science will offer free general admission from August 24th to September 9th, and as the deal coincides with the US Open Tennis Championship, some exhibits will have sports themes. The Arthur Ashe Learning Center Inspiration Tour will use touchscreens, motion paintings, augmented reality and wellness challenges to provide insight into the legendary tennis player’s passions, which included sports, education, health and public service. On August 29th, NYSCI will operate an Alternative Sports Drink Stand from noon to 3 pm. Patrons will be able to try alternatives to commercial sports drinks while learning healthful tips on snacks, farming and creating homemade drinks. There are other temporary exhibits, such as Tesla’s Wonderful World of Electricity, and NYSCI has more than 450 permanent hands-on exhibits and demonstrations.
Details: Free General Admission, NYSCI, 47-01 111th Street, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, August 24th to September 9th, click here for hours.
The Forest Hills Times reminds us that the West Side Tennis Club turns 100 this year, and changes are coming. The actual club itself was established in 1892 on West Side of Manhattan. In 1913, the club bought land in Forest Hills, which is still its home. For it, they paid a $2,000 down payment and a $75,000 mortgage. (more…)
Besides world-class tennis and a world-class venue, one highlight of the US Open this year has been the signature cocktail. Sweetly named the Grey Goose Honey Deuce, it’s a mixture of lemonade, vodka, and black raspberry liqueur – garnished with three adorable honeydew melon balls to get you into the tennis spirit.
The drink, which is sold at the concession stands inside Arthur Ashe Stadium and at Grey Goose Bar in the outdoor plaza, comes in a US Open 2012 tumbler that you can keep. The collectible cup lists all of the champions, men and women, from 1968 to 2011.
If you didn’t get tickets to the Open this year, try making your own Honey Deuce at home while you watch the finals on TV. This video from the Wall Street Journal reveals the recipe.
The US Open has been the biggest sports event going on lately – Queens is the proud home to this major Grand Slam tennis tournament. It’s really a thrill to be there during the US Open, too. Have you caught any of it, either on TV or in person (and if you were there at the Tennis Center did you check out either of the new fancy bars that opened this year)? Let us know in the comments or via twitter at @queensnycity!
As we mentioned just a little while ago, the US Open Qualifying Tournament – which is FREE, we might add – is happening today through Friday. Are you going? If so, what are you looking forward to the most?