March 2, 2018 By Tara Law
A dilapidated Astoria basketball court has a new lease on life thanks to a colorful makeover.
Triborough Bridge Playground B, which is located beneath the Triborough Bridge near Hoyt Avenue South and 21st Street, has been upgraded with weather resistant asphalt, two new polycarbonate blackboards and a bright mural by California based artist MADTEEZ, aka Mark Paul Deren.
Deren is known for his bright and colorful graphic art, which has a hiphop and street art inspired aesthetic.
The Big Ten Network, a sports channel which covers collegiate sports that are part of the Big Ten Conference, donated $40,000 to fully fund the project.
NYC Parks, the network and a group of Big Ten mascots hosted a ribbon cutting at the court this Wednesday. The project is the first major renovation of the court in more than 20 years.
In keeping with the spirit of the court, Jared Jeffries, a former Indiana Hoosier and Denver Nuggets player, and influential trainer Chris Brickley hosted a basketball clinic for kids from the Zone 126 program, a nonprofit which provides services to children from poor families in Long Island City and Astoria.
The ribbon cutting coincided with the start of the 2018 Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament, which is being held this year at Madison Square Garden from Feb. 28 to March 4.
“The basketball tradition in New York City is second to none, and it’s one of the many reasons the Big Ten Men’s Basketball Tournament has made its way to Madison Square Garden,” said Jordan Maleh, Director of Digital Marketing and Communications at BTN.
“As a network our goal was to, even in a small way, make a meaningful contribution to that culture and we’ve been fortunate to have a partner like NYC Parks to make it a reality.”
The basketball court is the latest upgrade in a flurry of renovations to Triborough Bridge Playground B.
A new soccer field opened at the park in fall, and an adult playground with pingpong tables and fitness equipment opened last summer. Renovation of a basketball court and dog run at nearby Triborough Bridge Playground C is slated to begin this spring.