When you think of New York City, you think of a city that is fast-paced. One where everyone is trying to get somewhere and will stop at nothing to get there. It is the Big Apple, "the city that never sleeps". Yet, through all that noise and calamity, there is one small section of New York that is trying to slow things up.
Rockefeller Center and HSBC bank have set up a Wimbledon-esque atmosphere right at the center of the busiest part of Manhattan. Sandwiched in between 5th and 6th avenue, HSBC, "the worlds local bank" has erected a somewhat miniature grass court (the only one in New York City), a large screen broadcasting ESPN2's telecast of Wimbledon, with about 150 seats facing the television. They are also passing out strawberries and cream, which is one of the more popular snacks at the All-England Lawn.
This little setup provides a nice getaway to New Yorkers who are on their lunch break, or just feel like getting out and watching some tennis with their fellow man. The day that I went was a warm Wednesday afternoon, and the bleachers were nearly filled as the American, Andy Roddick dispatched of Victor Hanescu in the second round.
While the fans watched on the big screen, many others were playing on, or admiring the grass court, which has been open daily from seven in the morning until eight at night. The day I went they were setting up to have a series of children from the City Parks Foundation do some tennis drills with former number one American tennis player, and current Davis Cup captain, Jim Courier.
Both Courier and former number one on the women's side, Monica Seles had played an exhibition on Monday, in which they invited others to come and join them on court in what was a once in a lifetime experience for many tennis fans.
However today, it was just Courier who led the session. When asked about him giving back to the tennis community, Courier discussed his charity, Courier's Kids, and said "I am involved all day everyday in tennis it seems like, which is really wonderful for me because I am passionate about the sport."
If you live in New York or are visiting the city, this is a must-see attraction. It is located at Rockefeller Center (between 50th/51st streets and between 5th/6th avenues).
TO READ THE FULL INTERVIEW WITH JIM COURIER, CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW...