clay tennis
The clay tennis courts in Riverside Park. Photo by William Avery Hudson.

The city is cutting fees for tennis permits to $100 from $200, and allowing first-time permit-holders to sign up online.

The reduction comes after the Bloomberg administration progressively hiked annual permit fees to $200 in 2011 from $50 in 2003. The number of people getting permits fell substantially.

To play on a city court you need to have an annual permit, or each person must pay $15 to play for an hour. (Under the new city fee structure, the $15 fee will remain the same). People who have an NYC ID can get 10% off an annual permit.

In addition, the parks department is making it easier for first-time players to sign up. Previously, people who had never gotten a permit before had to go to one of six citywide locations to sign up. As of this year there will be 14 such sites, along with the online signup option.

“By halving fees to $100 a year, and streamlining the application process for New Yorkers, playing tennis will be even more accessible to a wider population, including those with lower incomes,” said Councilmember Mark Levine, who heads the city council’s parks committee.

Central and Riverside Parks have some of the best courts around, so check out your closest court and be sure to get there early on the day you want to play to sign up.

Registration is now open. You can get a permit and learn more at this site.



NEWS, OUTDOORS | 16 comments | permalink
    1. geoff says:

      Rare, smile inducing news! I used to play at the old courts that are now beneath the new Yankee Stadium back in the early seventies. red clay, and the courts were in good shape—believe it or not! This new offer is tempting, once again.

    2. UWSlady says:

      The rates first doubled from $50 to $100 , then doubled again to $200. One of Bloomberg’s dumber moves as Mayor. They lost my business after that first $200 year. So that was $600 gone from a loyal tennis player….and now I’m the magic age where the permits cost $20. Why do people think price-gouging is always the answer?

      As far as the best courts around? The courts in Central Park were in pretty bad shape. Riverside is better because people must brush after every hour.

    3. B Anan says:

      Speaking of the New York ID and all the perks, I asked myself why on earth is the city pushing this ID? Why all the perks and freebies? One can’t get the city to do anything at all, but out of nowhere, there is this ID card. WHY??? I asked myself. Is it a money making scam? Are they selling our information to private companies so that we can be marketed? If it was to help people who lack a drivers license, fine, but why the big push and why all the perks?

      And now it is occuring to me: the NY ID is so that people who are not citizens can vote (democrat)! Is that the purpose of it?

    4. Bloomingdaler says:

      sigh…… It would be nice if the website actually worked. I’ve been trying for ten minutes to apply online, with no luck.

      What else is new?????

    5. Leesa says:

      This. Is. AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    6. LuluT says:

      Great! Does anyone know if each player needs s permit? Thanks!

      • Cyrus says:

        Yes, in order to play on the courts you must have a permit

        • LuluT says:

          Thank you, Cyrus

          • Susan says:

            You do not need a permit to play. You can buy single-play tickets for $15 each. If you think you are going to play more than 5 times in a season, then it is more cost-effective to get the permit. You do need a permit to reserve a court in advance either online or by phone.

    7. 10-S says:

      Easier app process – sounds nice. Price cut – nice too. That said, it is still just about impossible to actually get court time to PLAY unless one camps out from 6am and prays that by an act of Congress, God, and a crazy luck there will be a free hour at 4pm.

      By the way, in order to sign up on a weekend you can’t just go and sign up for the person or group you are playing with (so for doubles, all 4 people who have to be there to sign up only to return hours and hours later if they are lucky enough to score a court). Just impossible.

    8. LuluT says:

      One other question, why get a permit if you can just pay as you go for the same price? $15.00. Thanks!