The obvious choice here might seem to be Riverside Park with its 10 well-maintained red clay courts; it’s generally considered caviar to dirty water dogs when it comes to city courts. But the crowds and one-hour limit can be as annoying as playing at John J. Carty Playground in Bay Ridge, perhaps the city’s worst. (Not only do you have to contend with fucked-up bounces caused by a plethora of fault lines that zigzag Carty’s 10 threadbare courts, but hand signals are necessary to keep score because of the 18-wheelers downshifting on the ramps exiting the Belt Parkway that loop overhead.) Central Park and Prospect Park are in good shape too, but they require reservations that will cost you $7 on top of the outrageous $100 the city charges for tennis permits. All things considered, Tom Perrotta, a New York City–based contributing writer for Tennis magazine, says: “I’d probably vote for Crotona Park in the Bronx. The courts are not in the best shape, but pretty good . . . and you can play forever.” Crotona Park offers 20 hard courts, hosts an annual Challenger Circuit tournament, recently rehabbed its locker rooms, and, most importantly, has lights for night play. The only drawback is that for those without a car, it’s a subway to a bus to get there. On the plus side, our spies tell us the workers at Crotona Park are very lax when it comes to checking for permits.