The world is coming to Queens for the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center at Flushing Meadows Corona Park from Monday, Aug. 28, to Sunday, Sept. 10. Last year, the tournament shattered an all-time attendance record with more than 776,000 tennis fans and with the addition of U.S. Open Fan Week, the full three-week attendance was more than 888,000 people.
“I’m thrilled to welcome tennis players and fans from across the globe to The World’s Borough, as we enjoy what promises to be another exciting US Open,” Queens Borough President Donovan Richards said. “I hope our visitors make the most of their time in Queens and go out to explore our rich borough — whether it’s for some of the best food you’ll find anywhere, the beautiful sights or the many entertainment options, we have something for you in between tennis matches. Queens is your oyster.”
Each year, the U.S. Open brings $750 million in direct economic impact to New York City and employs more than 7,000 people, with more than 40% living in Queens.
“The U.S. Open is a great opportunity for our borough to showcase our diverse range of dining and hospitality options,” Queens Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Tom Grech said. “Traditionally, U.S. Open guests and visitors head to Manhattan to eat and tour after the tennis is over. We strongly encourage them to stay and eat here in Queens.”
The Queens Tourism Council and Queens Together are set to release a list of restaurants along the 7 train from Long Island City to Corona.
“It also includes stuff like recommended cash, price range and stuff. So we’re gonna release that and hopefully people will use it,” Queens Tourism Council Director Rob MacKay said “Obviously, it’s an international as well as national event, and the good thing is that when they’re here to watch their tennis, they also stay in our hotels, they shop in our stores and they visit our restaurants. It’s not like a Mets day game at Citi Field, where you drive in and drive out, you know, we’ve got them there the whole time.”
MaCkay says he is well aware of the criticism the tournament brings each summer from parkgoers who are not able to have unrestricted use of Flushing Meadows Corona Park.
“I understand that. I get that it is a public park, but in this case, this is such a unique and special international event that is so good for New York City and for Queens, especially,” MacKay said. “Because it’s such a major international event the NYPD will get bomb threats and they have to turn a portion of the park into a mobile command center to deal with security.”
MacKay believes the benefits outweigh issues like extra traffic and restricted access to parts of the park during the two-week tournament.
“The U.S. Open has a weeklong fan fest and they [will] do Arthur Ashe Kids’ Day on Aug. 26 with defending champ Carlos Alcaraz and 23-time Grand Slam winner Novak Djokovic,” MacKay said. “It’s just a fun thing and another benefit of living in Queens.”
On Aug. 29, City Parks Foundation (CPF) , the only independent nonprofit to offer free youth programs in public parks around the five boroughs, will hold its 25th Annual Tennis Benefit honoring Billie Jean King to mark her 25-year commitment to chairing and starting the event that provides critical funding for CityParks Tennis at the tennis complex that bears her name. The former tennis star and winner of 39 Grand Slam titles will share the stage with three young tennis players including Jamaica’s Samantha Chui, whose parents jumped at the chance to turn her energy into a skill.
For more than a decade, Samantha participated in CPF’s free sports programs — including tennis — and is now both an intern with the organization and a coach.
The benefit will also celebrate the 50th anniversary of Billie Jean King’s fight for equal pay at the U.S. Open.
“As someone who learned to play on public courts in California, I closely identify with the mission of CityParks Tennis to make the sport more accessible for any child in New York City’s parks,” King said. “As we celebrate our benefit’s 25th anniversary, I would like to thank the USTA for their longtime support of this special event that has enabled CPF to provide free access, free instruction and play opportunities for countless children in all neighborhoods of the city.”
At the event, one of the student honorees who has demonstrated excellence in the CityParks Tennis program and beyond will receive the 2023 Billie Jean King Junior Achievement Award.
“Thanks to Billie Jean King’s leadership, this annual event continues to provide the funding we need for our citywide tennis program to thrive and succeed,” CPF Director of Sports Mike Silverman said. “We are thrilled to recognize Billie Jean for her commitment to CityParks Tennis and our youth.”
The world coming to Queens for the U.S. Open never ceases to amaze MacKay.
“I’ll get an immense feeling of pride when I walk in there on Monday morning, that Queens is hosting such a huge international event,” MacKay said. “This is one of the biggest sporting events in the entire world right up there with the Olympics and the World Cup. There’s an excitement and a sense of pride and I think it’s an enormous benefit of living in Queens.”