It’s hard to turn the head of a New Yorker; in fact, that’s something residents are pretty proud of. But the annual installation of a squash court in Grand Central Station is something that does have commuters doing a double-take.
The court itself, a cubic glass structure, is set up for the J.P. Morgan Tournament of Champions, one of the stops on the Professional Squash Association’s (PSA) World Series tour. The station’s Vanderbilt Hall has been the home of the tournament since 1999. The only exception was a three-year period between 1996-1998 when there were ongoing renovations at the venue; despite this, the tournament has remained the only sports championship held annually inside Grand Central Terminal. The glass court is set up so that the front wall is left open to public viewing. Passersby can check it out for free and have a unique vantage point — the balls zoom straight toward the crowd.
The court is owned by the producer of the Tournament of Champions , John Nimick of the company, SquashEngine. Nimick told ASBA he uses a Maryland-based company called McWil Squash, which co-designed the court with Nimick, and which helps to put up and take down the venue.
“The court is used about six times a year for various events, one more called the Oracle NetSuite Open produced by my company, and rentals with third parties,” notes Nimick. “McWil is the premier glass court provider and operator in the USA.”
An estimated 200,000 commuters and sold-out crowds filled the 500-seat stadium throughout the tournament’s weeklong run.