by Patrick McCarthy
In the past, when the sun was shining and the skies were blue you could bet that the tennis courts at Juniper Valley Park were packed.It would be unheard of to see empty courts at Juniper and the problems faced then by Middle Village tennis players were that players without permits would simply walk on the courts without signing up and take up primetime court space.
But now it seems that legitimate Middle Village tennis players are being forced off the courts not by indifferent and selfish people but by greed, which exposes the Mayor's hypocritical healthy lifestyles policies. Tennis permits have brought in approximately 2 million dollars per year for the past five years. When permit fees doubled back in 2003, the drop in permit sales fell by nearly 50%. The middle class suffered then and will suffer again since Bloomberg's Parks Department saw fit to once again double the permit fees from $100 to $200.
On the one hand, Bloomberg demands that New Yorkers stay fit by not consuming large sugary drinks or by walking up a flight of stairs instead of taking the elevator and at the same time doubles the permit fees in the middle of one of the worst recessions in history where family discretionary funds are near zero. So now instead of exercising while playing a sport enjoyed by working class individuals, we see empty courts with large cracks that have not been resurfaced in years.
And just when the USTA announced plans for a new roof to be built on Arthur Ashe stadium in the hopes for tennis to keep pace with other sports competing for consumer dollars, participation in the sport by the very people the USTA wants to attract will plummet by another 50% due to outrageous permit fees.