Brooklyn is special (if you don’t believe me, ask anyone who lives there). And in our case it’s extra-special because early next year we will be assuming the lease of a space that currently offers squash: 43 Clark Street (AKA EAC). This is a big deal, because the lease is up soon, and if we hadn’ secured the lease, those courts would very likely have gone the way of 86th street, Lincoln Center, and The Printing House, and if you don’t know what I’m talking about that’s because there are no squash courts in any of those locations anymore! But I’m jumping to the end. Let’s start at the beginning.
From the moment of our inception, it has been the Open Squash dream to make squash more accessible and affordable to everyone. We do this by building squash courts – and then providing economic assistance to those who cannot afford to play. Once we realized we would sell out at our Bryant Park location (as we now have!), we started investigating the only thing that could alleviate court pressure: building more courts. As that planning was underway, we heard the lease was up at 43 Clark Street.
43 Clark Street is a massive location with a storied history. (It used to be part of The Hotel St. George, which was New York’s largest hotel, and contained (among many other things) the world’s largest (120ft) salt water pool. Trivia Fact: the pool is still there, it’s just been covered over. The Hotel was famous for big dances, jazz fests and the celebrities who visited. Trivia Fact #2: The original Tarzan and Olympic Gold Medalist Johnny Weissmuller used to hang out at the Hotel St. George.)
EAC has been operating a successful squash and fitness facility at 43 Clark. With their lease coming up, the current owners decided they wanted a tenant who would agree to invest in the space and modernize it, including creating a new, state-of-the-art squash facility – and we jumped at the opportunity.
So what are we going to do?!
First – what we are *not* going to do is shut down any squash courts without making more available. Our second location to open will be Pearl Street. This location will open in spring 2023 and it will bring at least eight new state-of-the-art squash courts online – including one all glass show court. Once Pearl Street is open we will start renovating and adding courts at 43 Clark Street. Luckily for everyone, Pearl Street is only a 7-minute subway ride from Clark Street – so when we renovate (which will require us to shut down for 6-12 months) the existing members at the Brooklyn location will have somewhere to go. There’ll be no “down time” if we can possibly avoid it.
Second – we’re currently looking for a partner to upgrade and operate the non-squash part of the existing gym and sports EAC facility – as our focus is exclusively on squash. If you know of anyone who is interested, please let us know. We’d love to partner with someone who shares our vision of a beautiful restoration.
And that is just about all we know for now. But if you have questions, let us know and we’ll answer them and add them to this blog post.