Chapter 1. He adored tennis. He idolized it all out of proportion
February 1, 2012 10:04 AM Subscribe
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The Awl sends correspondent Ben Worcester to the newest tennis hotspot in Manhattan:
The Vanderbilt Tennis Club
in Grand Central.Founded in 1965 as the Vanderbilt Athletic Club
, the two court facility was owned and operated by Donald Trump from 1984 until its closure in 2009, to make way for a new Metro-North conductor lounge
. According to The Municipal Art Society of New York, Lleyton Hewitt, Andy Murray, Martina Navratilova, Robby Ginepri, John McEnroe and the Williams sisters have all practiced on these courts. Prior to the tennis facilities the space was a CBS broadcast studio: the first episodes of “What’s My Line?” and Edward R. Murrow’s news program “See It Now,” including the groundbreaking series on Senator Joseph McCarthy, were broadcast from this space. Reportedly, CBS gave up the studio due to the rumble of the trains below. The MAS has a Flickr set of the space as a tennis club
After completing the lounge there was sufficient space in the terminal so Metro-North issued a request for proposals for a sports facility to be developed on a new fourth and fifth floors.
"We wanted to maintain a sports presence in Grand Central Terminal," says Marjorie Anders, a spokeswoman for Metro-North. "Personally, I think racquet ball or squash would have made more sense. But the people who came up with the money wanted a tennis court, so that's what we'll have." The rough
space would have just enough room for one court and two practice alleys.
Newly completed, Gothamist has a photo tour
of the new Vanderbilt Tennis Club, where prices range from $90-250 per hour during the day and which will be the only tennis club in the city equipped with on-court slow-motion video analysis.