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119th Tennis Association Holds Spring Festival

June 1, 2012 03:18 PM
119th Board Members (l-r, back) Patrick Duvalsaint, Joanie Schroeder, Liz Hydes, (l-r front) Josie Atienza and Amy Ayres

You couldn’t have asked for a better day. Sunny and in the mid-70s. Kids playing 10 and Under Tennis along the Hudson River. Families enjoying a picnic with food from local restaurants. And everyone hoping to win a raffle for tickets to the 2012 US Open.   

That was the scene at the 119th Street hard court courts in Riverside Park, as the 119th Street Tennis Association (119TA) held its Spring Tennis Festival on May 19. With support from USTA Eastern, local businesses, volunteers, and 119TA members, the event attracted more than 100 people, and helped the association raise more than $2,500 to support the maintenance of the courts and local tennis programming.

"It was an outstanding event," said Liz Hydes, President of 119TA. "People not only enjoyed playing tennis and making new friends, they also got to learn about the Association and show their support for an important community resource right in their backyard."

The morning kicked off with a clean-up of the court perimeter and surroundings, supported by the Riverside Park Fund’s Volunteer Program. That was followed by a round of 10 and Under Tennis for kids and informal hitting with the resident tennis pros, Jaime Bravo, Dawn Fox and Dave Kardas.

Parents were thrilled to see their kids learning and enjoying the sport. In gratitude, many of them bought raffle tickets to support the association. Several players were so impressed by the generous picnic, the recently pressure washed courts, and programs sponsored by 119TA that they eagerly signed up to become members and participate in tournaments to be held this summer.

Festival participants were treated to a sumptuous picnic featuring specialties donated by neighborhood restaurants, including Bettolona, Henry’s, Indian Café, 107 West, Pisticci and Symposium. Much excitement surrounded the announcement of the winners of the raffle, including the grand prize of two tickets to the U.S. Open Women's Semi-Final, generously donated by a 119TA board member. The tickets were won by Gretchen Johnson, who along with her husband Fred, have been longtime 119TA members and played at the courts for decades.

"I am so excited, I have never won anything in my life," said Gretchen. "We’re thrilled to be going to the Women’s Semi-Finals!"

Activities continued all afternoon, with tennis tips and round-robin play with the tennis pros. To top it off, the association held its inaugural Women’s Double’s Round Robin Tournament.

The 119th Street Tennis Association is a non-profit organization operating under the auspices of Riverside Park Fund in New York City. Supported by over 150 members, 119TA is dedicated to improving the quality of the tennis facility in New York City's Riverside Park at 119th Street. It organizes tournaments, clinics and other related tennis activities. For more information on membership, tournaments and events, visit www.119TA.net.