Last week when I heard about evian’s 1st Annual Wood Racquet Cup an event they were doing to celebrate the history of the US Open, I knew immediately I wanted to go. I am up for almost any sporting event but when you add “retro dress up” to that, yummy drinks, food AND the chance to scope out one of the original homes of a world renown sporting competition – really, I just I couldn’t wait.
The West Side Tennis Club is a hidden gem in the middle of the gorgeous Tudor mansions of Forrest Hill, Queens. The clubhouse from the street looks almost like any one of the other stunning houses in the area, only behind it, you can catch a glimpse of a large stadium peeking up over the roof. I was so glad that I had gotten there a little early so that I would have time to really look around before the event started. Hidden away are some of the most beautiful courts I have ever seen – from grass to clay courts, all were stunning and immaculately kept. The original stadium with its wood seats is a stunner but the seating for it is a little run-down (in the beginning stages of restoration). As I stood there, I could easily imagine those original games, with the seats filled with people in their best tennis whites. Even as someone who hasn’t played tennis since I was a little kid, getting to see such an amazing place made me want to take up the game and get out on the courts!
Comedian Judah Friedlander (from the awesome 30 Rock) was the day’s special guest and provided a running commentary during the matches, as well as playing people at his favorite game, table tennis, in the Social Media Garden. By the way, I had no idea there were different kind of balls for different locations – I mean really? Apparently, there are special ones for if you are playing outside…
The event was a group tournament with doubles teams from the likes of Flavorpill, Facebook, Warby Parker and the New York Times. Next year, I am totally propositioning to have my own Fatbottomslim team, though. I really wanted to play after watching all of the teams go at it! (By the way…anyone want to teach me how to play tennis? That might be helpful!) The prize was a pair of tickets to the Men’s Final at the US Open & it was awesome to see how seriously all of the teams were while playing. They were really going at it, although I swear, a couple of teams seemed like they had ringers playing for them. I am looking at you NYT – that guy who didn’t work at the Times and declined to say WHERE he worked was suspiciously good… but in the end, the NYT team was defeated by Judah’s brother Josh’s team, the 40 Lovers. It was awesome, though, to see all of the teams play so hard and have such fun while doing it – some of the retro tennis outfits were ridiculously fun. Next year, I am totally getting decked out too…
My plan for the day was to spend a couple of hours there, check out the space, watch a little of the tennis action and then leave, but I had such fun that I ended up there until the very end of the event! There was screen printing of bags, the AWESOME Hungry March Band who for me completely made the event, amazing weather, sporty fun people, great matches and a stunning setting… really what more could you ask for in a day?
Cheers to evian for an amazing first annual Wood Racquet Cup event!
Photos: Eric C. Stafford
UPDATED: Apparently Eric was shooting video during the event! Check it out: evian WRC