Seen & Heard: Corruption Alleged at the Tennis Court

••• Press release: On Monday, June 23, SUMO, a new art gallery opened it’s doors at 37 Walker with artist David Foote’s latest exhibition, A Series Of Alarming Women, showcasing a brand-new 60-piece collection of works on paper, all created with India ink and acrylic paint, to be displayed from June 24 to July 14.” That’s the space that was Esoteric. Will pop by when I’m back in town. UPDATE: “The SUMO gallery is owned by Esotetic,” commented James. “I was at the opening. Both share the space.”

••• Here’s dinner menu for Café Noir, newly moved to Lispenard.

••• The Grand Banks boat bar said that it has arrived at Pier 25 and that it’ll open next week. Plus, it’s throwing a July 4 fireworks-watching party for $250 a head.

••• “I’m the Edward Snowden of the festering mess at the sign-up sheet for the tennis court at Washington Market Park,” said the voicemail I received yesterday. “I’m going to email you a link that sets out the parameters of the dispute. While this story may seem small, the beautiful thing is, I’ve got the documents.” It wasn’t totally clear from the documents what the scandal is—one could presume people were trying to game the system—so I emailed for clarification. “They’re trying to control the court when they want to play on it, i.e., from 12 to 3 on weekdays. The problems for them and the reason they have to cheat is that a. everybody has to have a tennis permit $200 per for adults, $20 for seniors (most of them don’t have them) and b. you’re only supposed to sign up for one hour per player per day. And to sign up, you have to be in the park at 7 a.m. when the attendant puts the sheet up. So one guy signs up for all of them with the cooperation of the Parks guy. And any non-mafia member who tries to sign up for one of ‘their’ hours is threatened. Ask me about the police report I filed last Sunday after I was threatened. It’s like Scarface down there.” Anyone care to corroborate or argue to the contrary?

••• The Bangles—three of them, anyway—are playing City Winery on Oct. 6 and 7. Personal favorite:

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  1. This tennis court drama sounds pretty interesting. Much more so than the Eastern Athletic drama.

  2. The tennis court mafia is true. Those guys are major a-holes and definitely game the system to make it hard for anyone else to get time on the court.

  3. The SUMO gallery is owned by Esotetic. I was at the opening. Both share the space.

  4. The Sumo space is beautiful. Went inside yesterday to see the artworks. Gorgeous design and cool art. The guy in there was super friendly. Nice to see that area of Walker St start to come to life.

  5. Not sure why the tennis court dispute has become such an big issue, the rules are very simple and clear – first come, first serve. Why can’t the park personnel enforce the rules?

    • The park folks take ‘gifts’ from the mafia. Don’t you know how city corruption works?

      • The Parks employees are decent, honest people; who enforce the rules fairly. It is irresponsible to call them corrupt.

  6. Tennis Snowden unveiled! People who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Or something like that. This Snowden wannabe aka Seamus McBleary turns out to be a tennis “pro” (initials BS — yes, really) who has been using the WMP court as his own private teaching court, even though he has no concession from the Parks Dept permitting him to do so and the posted rules prohibit “commercial activity” and also limit the number of tennis balls on the court at any time (to prevent lessons). He charges an hourly fee and the City gets none of it. Do all his student have Parks permits? Who knows? Between him and this students, how many hours of court time does he sign up for per week? So as far as I can tell, Mr BS seems to be complaining that folks with permits are getting up early and signing up to play tennis with other permit holders in time slots that BS wants for lessons. Hmmmm. A legitimate public use of the court vs a prohibited commercial use of the court…
    And hurling words around like Mafia and corruption is just disgusting.
    If folks are interested in what kind of person is launching this attack, check out this blog posted by Mr BS:

    • It’s dueling illegal tennis pros! The WMP Board has tried many times, unsuccessfully, to prevent the monopolization of the courts, but one of the pros has been historically threatening to park staff and members of the Board (check out the illegally placed sign proclaiming the name of the court to be named after this Pro). One year, he even placed a chain and lock on the court when the Board had notified him it was running free tennis clinics for children on the court. At the beginning of another clinic, he refused to leave the court until Park officers asked him to leave. The Parks Dept can’t do much about what is going on because they are understaffed, underfunded and, honestly, there are bigger issues than a lone tennis court getting misused. It is not the Park employees’ jobs to police the courts, they just hang the sign – They could care less who signs up for tennis. If people would stop paying these pros to illegally reserve the court for lessons, there wouldn’t be an issue.

  7. It’s hard enough to get court time at that tennis court. Can the scammers please be exposed? Both these individuals and the park attendant should be reported to the Parks Department and have their permit revoked. I’d be happy to submit the paperwork if the allegations are true.

    Also, in reading the comments section, the allegation against Seamus McBleary seems interesting especially if that person is the pot calling kettle black.

  8. A whistleblower can always expect to be attacked. Of course, the cheaters
    are firing back. Giving lessons on that court is one issue. Signing up for
    yourself with one hand and for your wife with your other hand is a separate
    issue as is sending one guy to sign up for three hours.
    Just so my airing of our parks’ dirty laundry doesn’t become totally repetitive, I should say that Sarah, the gardener, is the greatest. And while trying to clean up
    the corrupt situation on the tennis court, I sometimes shoot hoops. Nice job
    on the new backboards, Washington Market Park Board!

    My suggestions on furthering this fight are: use your whole names, search the
    web for more dirt on me, there’s tons of it. And, oh, yeah, I have the documents.

  9. Hey Brent,

    You are one of the guys charging people to use the public court. That’s unlawful and, maybe you want to stop bragging about it? Oh, that’s right, you’re an idiot.

  10. The tennis mafia and surrounding corruption is the most exciting thing to happen in Tribeca in 20 years. Granted it is sad, but intriguing.

  11. I can’t believe this is still going on. 20 years ago I tried to take up tennis and just gave up because I never seemed to get up early enough to get time to play tennis without the time already was taken at the crack of dawn (as some mysterious group always seemed to have done).

    It’s amazing to me that two decades later, the WMP board has not come up with a fairer way to allocate playing time. Has no one heard of leaving an ID behind in a locked box during your set?? Drop it off, pick it up after you finish your set. Saves people from phantom booking. At least it would force some kind of proof somebody made an effort to prove they showed up in person.

    By the way, we used to have courts along the Westside Hwy, and you literally had to wait to play. That really was first come, first serve.

  12. My daughter can’t get into kindergarten and she can’t get court time to work on her serve and backhand. She’ll never get into college or the US Open at this rate. What a bunch of TribecA-holes.