West Side Tennis Club
The West Side Tennis Club is a private tennis club founded in 1892 in Forest Hills, Queens NY. In 1923, when the United States Lawn Tennis Association National Championship (known now as the U.S. Open) moved to Queens, the club constructed a 15,00 seat – horseshoe shaped – stadium that still stands today. The club hosted the U.S. Open until 1978 when the tournament moved to Flushing Meadows.
During its years at West Side, the U.S. Open was often referred to simply as “Forest Hills”, and witnessed some crucial moments in tennis history when in 1950, Althea Gibson became the first African-American player to play in a Grand Slam event and in 1968, when Arthur Ashe became the first African-American to win a Grand Slam tournament. Besides hosting tennis matches, the stadium has been the site of a number of concerts by The Beatles, Bob Dylan, Frank Sinatra, Jimi Hendrix, The Who, Donna Summer and Diana Ross.
In recent years, the decaying arena has been used only sporadically and current management is looking to sell it as the club can’t afford the renovation of the historic stadium evaluated at $15 million. Although, the members of club said no to developer Cord Meyer’s $9 million proposal to turn the stadium into luxury condos it seems that the club is waiting for the Marriott Hotel’s proposal to build a hotel that “would keep the club’s historic character”.
Words and images by Charles le Brigand
All rights reserved. Une production de Brigand © 2010