In good news for the neighborhood, Hell’s Kitchen Park is back up and running, boasting new improvements after months-long renovations to the tune of $450,000.
The upgraded sports area of the park on 10th Avenue between W47/48th Streets showcases several new features, including a state-of-the-art pickleball court, fresh basketball posts and backboards, additional benches, newly laid concrete pavement for handball, new concrete in the handball area, a newly laid asphalt pavement lined with new trees, and a new drinking fountain.
“It’s all lovely,” said Elke Fears, president of the 47-48th Street Block Association. “The pickleball and basketball courts are green with white lines around them. So it looks nice and fresh. It looks terrific.”
The refurbishment suffered multiple delays, including poor weather and infrastructure issues that led to an idle period of six weeks. Progress was also stalled as workers awaited connection of the drinking fountain and drainage system. Renovations began around March, with the process initially expected to take around two to three months — but the work stalled due to rain and a month-long pause as workers waited for the newly laid asphalt to cure.
“We’re happy that the sports area is open again and people can use it,” said Fears. “I hope all of our sports-minded folks enjoy the new courts.”
There was an initial push from the Parks Department to put a fence between the new pickleball and basketball courts, but community members disagreed. “Initially, Parks wanted to put a dividing fence between the pickleball court area and the basketball court area,” Fears explained. “The community didn’t think that was a very smart idea so Parks agreed. They did what the community wanted and did not put the fence up. So now you just have the delineation of the court itself.”
A Manhattan Community Board 4 meeting in January debated whether renovations should include pickleball or a dedicated area for street hockey. Although pickleball’s popularity has been on the rise recently, street hockey has a long history in Hell’s Kitchen, producing NHL stars Brian and Joe Mullen — but on this occasion, pickleball won the vote.