The Marine Park Pickleball Associates (MPPBA) are gaining more pickleball courts in southern Brooklyn, thanks to the sport’s continued popularity and their passionate advocacy for it.
In late November, the club gained their first indoor playing space in Canarsie after partnering with the Hebrew Educational Society (H.E.S.), giving them an alternative to playing in the cold. The club’s outdoor playing space is also set to soon expand beyond their one designated tennis court. Eight new permanent pickleball courts will be added to Marine Park by the NYC Parks Department, with installation expected to be done in the summer.
Interest in the pickleball club has boomed over the last three years, according to cofounders Bob Spieler, 80, and Mike Chaiet, 71. Over 600 members have joined their group on TeamReach, a phone app which is the primary mode of communication for the club.
This past autumn, the group’s leaders were approached by the H.E.S., located at 9502 Seaview Avenue, who offered them a dedicated indoor playing space.
“There was a need for indoor pickleball courts in Brooklyn and we wanted to service that need, and that’s what we do here at the H.E.S. across all of our programs,” said Michael Gordon, the Chief Programming Officer at the H.E.S. “We serve the needs of our community members.”
The partnership between the H.E.S. and the MPPBA officially launched on November 28th and has had a great turnout according to Gordon. It allows MPPBA members and regular H.E.S. members to use the indoor pickleball courts on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, from morning to early afternoon.
While the new indoor space is helping members stay active in winter, the expansion of their outdoor space by the NYC Parks Department will provide relief from the overcrowding that members face in warmer months. Getting the eight new permanent courts approved took months of outreach and communication with City agencies.
Aggie Smith, 68, has been a part of the club since its early days, advocating fiercely for their need for more space. The semi-retired nurse practitioner believes the new courts will benefit not only the club, but also the wider community, by making the sport more accessible.
“When we get permanent nets, people can set up their own games and come at any time,” said Smith. “And it should be like that, just like the tennis players have. Whatever time you want to set up a game with other people, it’s there, it’s available.”