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Pickleball Gets a Permanent Spot at Wollman Rink

Good morning. It’s Monday. Today we’ll look at what might be called Pickleball 2.0 as the off-season replacement for skating at the Wollman Rink in Central Park. This time it’s permanent. We’ll also see what’s in the state budget that the Legislature passed over the weekend.

Credit…Yuki Iwamura/Associated Press

Last year, pickleball courts were rolled out as the off-season replacement for skating at Wollman Rink in Central Park. The playing surface was like a huge acrylic carpet that covered the rink’s concrete floor.

This year, there won’t be anything between the pickleball players’ feet and the rink itself. The floor is being resurfaced.

CityPickle, which now has a three-year deal for pickleball at the rink, says the new surface will be permanent and will do double duty for the sport, which is sometimes described as the easier-going cousin of tennis. When skating season returns, the pickleball courts will winter, unseen, under the ice. The company also says that the new surface will drain and dry faster after a rainstorm than the acrylic carpet did, so players can get back on the courts sooner.

Pickleball has exploded in popularity during the pandemic, surging to 13.6 million players in the United States last year from 4.8 million in 2021, according to the Sports & Fitness Industry Association. CityPickle’s receiving permission to resurface the rink was “a real vote of confidence for pickleball,” said Mary Cannon, a principal of CityPickle. The company covered the $250,000-plus cost of the resurfacing with Wollman Park Partners, the concessionaire for the rink.

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