New York City is the largest city in the United States. A popular sport like pickleball will have a lot of places to play. Where are the best places to play? Popular places to play feature indoor and outdoor courts with smooth, uncluttered surfaces. These courts are regularly groomed and have attentive staffs for beginners and experts alike.
Most of the places to play pickleball in Manhattan and Brooklyn are owned and maintained by New York City Parks. Many of them have taped out courts on existing sports fields, like basketball and handball courts. This is a perfectly fine way to set up a temporary sports field; sports like roller derby have been using tape to craft temporary tracks, fields, and courts in their venues for many decades.
These are 10 of the best places to play pickleball in New York City.
1. William F. Passannante Ballfield, West Village
The William F. Passanante Ballfield is open during daylight hours. This playground and basketball court features permanent pickleball court outlines, but does not have permanent nets. The community brings portable nets to play pickleball matches during the daytime.
The courts at the Passanante Ballfield are generally open in the mornings and early afternoons for open-level play. Games are organized via codes found on ernepickleball.com. Organizers request a free-will contribution of $3 per person per session, which goes toward balls, nets, and weekly permits. Katherine and David are the local leaders on the courts.
2. McCarren Park, Williamsburg, Brooklyn
McCarren Park added pickleball courts in May 2022. The pickleball courts on Lorimer Street are among the newest places to play in New York City. The courts use temporary nets as of 2022. Players may need to be friendly with handball players during off hours. McCarren Park’s first season of pickleball has been a success.
For play times and net availability, check them out on Instagram. Play times typically start around 11 AM on weekends and 5:30 PM on weekdays.
3. Marine Park, Brooklyn
Marine Park is an iconic space. The park is in the neighborhood that goes by the same name. Its pickleball community is one of the most iconic in New York City. Its structure is a model for other pickleball groups in the area and around the world. Their onsite equipment box includes nets, brooms, balls, and leaf blowers, allowing them to keep the courts in top condition. Recently, the pickleball community has been looking for more space. Open time on the pickleball courts is from 11 am to 2 pm daily. They are reachable via Team Reach.
4. Central Park
Needing absolutely no introduction, this iconic space at the heart of Manhattan is one of the most popular parks in the entire world. Central Park supports three to five nets at the North Meadow Rec Center handball courts on 97th Street. These handball courts are, like the rest of the park, fully open to the public and maintained by the City.
If there is an issue with these courts, it’s that they are not full-time pickleball courts – they are set up using added pieces to existing handball courts. Even so, this is a good place to play this sport in an iconic part of New York City. A wide mixture of players from all backgrounds and ages can be found here, and they are welcoming to new players.
5. Happy Warrior Playground, Upper West Side
As pickleball courts go, Happy Warrior Playground is one of the more no-frills options around. An outdoor playground with smooth and available asphalt for play, portable nets are needed on a bring your own net basis.
Where this playground excels is the location, conveniently on the Upper West Side. The handball courts are readily convertible to pickleball with nets and lines. The playground also has an active Slack group including a channel to schedule play sessions. Happy Warrior Playground’s active pickleball community is a fantastic option for players in the Upper West Side.
6. John J. Carty Park Pickleball Courts, Brooklyn
Right across the Upper Bay from Staten Island is John J. Carty Park. A slim 10-acre parcel of green land in the heart of New York, Rubber Park is a slice of beauty. Its ten pickleball courts are newly painted and paved, giving smooth bounces and fantastic play to those who come here. Since they are permanent features of the park, the beginning player who comes here won’t have to invest in a portable net. Neither will they have to negotiate times with basketball or handball players using the same space, allowing for a smoother and more flexible experience for the first-time pickleball player.
Rubber Park is one of the hidden gems of the New York City Park System. For a pickleball player looking for smooth, fast surfaces and a fun day out, it’s highly worth the trip out to the tip of Brooklyn.
7. Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground, West Village, Manhattan
Another fantastic outdoor space. Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground is open during daylight hours like most NYC parks. Corporal John A. Seravalli Playground is a tidy space in West Village. Like some of the other outdoor spaces, Seravalli Playground is Bring Your Own Net, but has painted lines on two asphalt courts. The pickleball courts are painted on the basketball court area, so pickleballers will likely need to plan their time around basketball players. Morning and early afternoon are the best time for pickleball here, so if you’re open during those times, Seravalli Playground may be your place in the West Village.
8. Court 16 Tennis – Gowanus, Brooklyn
Court 16 is a dedicated tennis club with a popular location in Brooklyn. Sponsored by Babolat, the world’s leader in racquet sports equipment, Court 16 offers clinics, open play and rental play for pickleballers in all areas of the city. Paddles and balls are provided at the club for customer convenience, giving players trying out the sport for the first time an easy way to get into a fantastic hobby, and creating confidence for experienced players bringing their friends out to play for the first time. A strike against them, however, is that their on-site pro shop focuses on tennis and may not have a selection of pickleball gear.
Court 16 has a second location in Long Island City. Their Brooklyn club opened first, in 2014. It has instructors who teach and play at multiple skill levels. Their professionals should challenge everyone, and the all-indoor facilities mean that playing will never be rained or snowed out and players can keep playing pickleball and tennis all year round. Court 16 features world-class facilities that should satisfy the needs of all comers.
9. Alfred E Smith Recreation Center, Knickerbocker Village
This rec center is at 80 Catherine Street, just off the Brooklyn Bridge in Manhattan. The building holds one of the best pickleball spaces in New York City. Located at Alfred E. Smith Playground, the Recreation Center includes 3 convertible indoor and outdoor pickleball courts (the indoor court is convertible from volleyball; the outdoor from handball), and welcomes everyone between 8 AM and 8:30 PM Monday through Saturday. Closed on Sunday, the location is accessible with a $50 annual fee for adults. It’s $25 for seniors, and free for all under 18. The Recreation Center’s fitness room is a nice addition for this humble community space.
A no-frills space just off the Brooklyn Bridge, Alfred E. Smith is great value for NYC residents. Pickleball is just one of the many sports supported by the city in this historic facility. Please remember that although lockers are provided, they are not locked by default and you will need to bring your own lock.
10. Pier 2 Pickleball Park, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Just across the Brooklyn Bridge from lower Manhattan. Brooklyn Bridge Park’s four pickleball courts lie on Pier 2. With full permanent courts in competition blue on smooth concrete, the Pier 2 pickleball courts are a fabulous option for the pickleball player in Brooklyn and lower Manhattan. Pickleball and ping-pong equipment can be borrowed from the nearby roller rink. The park requires an ID card to be held as collateral.
Brooklyn Bridge Park started running pickleball as an official park program in the summer of 2022. They have simple rules to encourage quick play and sharing of the courts. Please follow the park’s rules so that everyone can share court time, since pickleball is designed to be played in relatively long games. These lovely blue courts feature amazing views of lower Manhattan and fresh waterfront breezes, and nearby are basketball courts and the roller rink for other ways to enjoy yourself during a day in the park.