Mary Cannon and Erica Desai, co-founders of CityPickle, are bringing their first club to Queens in the first quarter of 2023. “It was born out of necessity and out of a desire to bring that fun and community of pickleball to New Yorkers,” Desai says. They also recently launched pop-up pickleball at Backyard at Hudson Yards, which will run the entire month of October. Both women discovered pickleball during the COVID-19 pandemic, but learned that there was no dedicated indoor facility to play pickleball in New York City.
Mary Cannon and Erica Desai, co-founders of CityPickle, discovered pickleball, like many others, during COVID, New York Business Journal reported. They both had played the sport while on trips outside of New York City and quickly fell in love with it.
“We came back to New York looking to continue to play and hoping to make it more of a regular part of our lives,” Desai told the New York Business Journal. “We quickly discovered that there was no dedicated indoor facility to play pickleball in New York City.”
Cannon and Desai are bringing CityPickle, New York City’s first indoor pickleball club, to Queens. The company’s debut permanent location is expected to open in the first quarter of 2023.
“It was born out of necessity and out of a desire to bring that fun and community of pickleball to New Yorkers,” Desai said.
In the meantime, Cannon and Desai recently launched pop-up pickleball at Backyard at Hudson Yards, which will run the entire month of October, New York Business Journal reported. CityPickle’s co-founders called it their “introduction to New York.”
USA Pickleball describes the sport as a combination of “many elements of tennis, badminton and ping-pong.” More than 4.8 million people play pickleball nationwide, and it is the fastest-growing sport in the country, according to The Sports & Fitness Industry Association’s 2022 Sports, Fitness and Leisure Activities Topline Participation Report.
CityPickle’s permanent location will be in a 10,000-square-foot space in Long Island City that features 21-foot ceilings, four pickleball courts, and a full restaurant and bar, New York Business Journal reported.
Although the company hasn’t yet partnered with a restaurant operator, the plan is to serve tacos and margaritas.
“We think that it’s going to be a really fun and great component to CityPickle because it will just help people enjoy their time with their friends and their family and colleagues even more,” Desai said.
Cannon believes pickleball combined with food and beverage offerings is a great recipe for team bonding, New York Business Journal reported.
“Perhaps you are able to reserve an hour-long court where you can bring five other friends and while four people are playing, two can be sitting at your designated couch area ordering drinks from the waiter,” Cannon said. “That’s just fun. And then you are rotating in. It just feels good.”
While New Yorkers are waiting for CityPickle to open in Queens next year, they can try out pickleball in Hudson Yards, New York Business Journal reported.
During October, people who are interested in playing pickleball can reserve a court for free at CityPickle’s website. CityPickle is also offering 50-minute lessons for $100 with USA pickleball ambassador Katherine Hedden.
Looking ahead, CityPickle’s co-founders hope to open additional locations in both New York City and other cities across the country, New York Business Journal reported.
“We will start in cities where there isn’t the opportunity to play outdoors for four seasons,” Desai said.
Their goal is to have three to four locations in New York City within the next two years.
Having come up with the idea in August of 2021, Cannon is confident CityPickle will be a home run in New York City.
“I think working as tirelessly as we have for the last year has put us in this position now,” Cannon said. “Timing is important. This is pickleball’s time and we’re ready.”