Best freebie tennis courts (2008)

John J. Carty Park

As New York City has an awesome reputation for civic corruption and mismanagement, perhaps it's only appropriate that a park named for a famed city employee best known for defending questionable funding decisions in the '60s, is so indifferently maintained. But the John J. Carty Park, opened in 1970, boasts 10 tennis courts, as well as picnic tables, sprinklers, a boccie court, a flagpole with yardarm, two playgrounds, and a really adorable and dangerous-looking slide in the shape of a whale. The cement of the courts is cracked, the chain-link fence surrounding them is rusted, and some of the nets drag on the ground or are suspended with bits of twine and ribbons. However, there's a happy absence of crowds and of park officials nosing around and asking to see your tennis permit. Though Interstate 278 rumbles deafeningly overhead, you can also tune your ears to the cheery shouts of slicked-up Asian teens and fat Russian men volleying on the neighboring courts.


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