In Brooklyn, you’re never too far from a basketball court–there are 170 spread around the borough, maintained by the Department of Parks and Recreation. Well, at least, a few of them are maintained. Most, according to an impressive new study and interactive visualization by The Wall Street Journal, are gnarly abandoned parking lots with net-less hoops tacked up to walls. But there are some, like the year-old court at Brooklyn Bridge Park (Pier 2), with gleaming backboards, fresh-painted pavement, and actual nets. In an invaluable guide for the borough’s ballers, the Journal’s Stu Woo ranks each court in Brooklyn and divides them into three categories: “not worth the MetroCard fare,” “OK for testing new Jordans,” and “almost NBA quality.” The photo-heavy interactive visualization, designed by Sarah Squire, lets you sort by score and helps you find courts in your neighborhood. Per their study, here are a few of the best and worst courts.
BEST: Brooklyn Bridge Park, Pier 2, Brooklyn Heights
Part of a recreation center, this year-old court was the only one that earned a perfect score, thanks to its freshly painted surfaces and the roof that covers some of the courts so you can play in the rain.
BEST: Kaiser Park, Neptune Ave. and W 29th St., Coney Island
Colorful fresh paint and swishy nets on Neptune Avenue. This court is not boxed in by any tall buildings, either–it looks downright suburban.
BEST: Parkside Playground,164 Winthrop St., Prospect Lefferts Gardens
There are three full courts in this classy, quiet park location.
WORST: Woodruff Playground, Hemlock St. and Stanley Ave., East New York
There’s no basket on this court’s sad single backboard. Even if there was, the surface of the court is slanted, so you’d be running up and downhill.
WORST: Saratoga Ball Fields, Pacific St. and Thomas S. Boyland St., Crown Heights
This is basically an abandoned lot with a hoop tacked to a fence. But apparently Parks and Recreation is redesigning the site, adding a new half-court and a new full-court. Stay tuned.
WORST: Bath Playground, 221 Bay 37th Street, Bath Beach
Last in the rankings, with a bent hoop and crumbling pavement, this court literally stinks, thanks to the neighboring garbage truck depot and huge garbage bin.
The WSJ‘s data wiz also analyzed how court quality related to neighborhood’s income level and racial makeup. They didn’t find any correlation between the two.
Head to The Wall Street Journal to see all 170 court rankings and play around with the interactive infographic.
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