Harlem, its playgrounds and other stories

Harlem: what is it?

Harlem a district of Upper Manhattan, well known worlwide because of gospel and Jazz, the Harlem Globetrotters and graffiti. The roots of street basketball, the main basketball tournaments as well as some of the most iconic basketball courts are along these streets. In these lines the most renowned and authentic playgrounds of Harlem, I explored on my trip.

Are you ready? 3-2-1 let’s go!
Harlem playgrounds

St. Nicholas Park

From W 128th St. to W 141st St., St. Nicholas Park hosts 5 basketball courts. On the corner of St. Nicholas Terrace and W 128th St, a characteristic playground, take the chance of playing a game here, challenging local guys with a top view of Harlem. On the corner of W. 141 St. & St. Nicholas Ave., a playground reopened in October. The artist MADSTEEZ, well known because of basketball great works in New York and Los Angeles, designed the renovation project of the basketball court, in partnership with New York City Department of Parks & Recreation and Mountain Dew.


Holcombe Rucker Park

Among others, the most emblematic playground of Harlem is Holcombe Rucker Park on the 155th, birthplace of the historic Rucker Tournament. It became a symbol because has hosted basketball legends like Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Wilt Chamberlain and Vince Carter. Dedicated to Holcombe Rucker, teacher and playground director for the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation. The 1st edition of the tournament took place in 1950 for the purpose of helping street children and giving a second chance for the future.

Cherry Tree Park

Sightseeing East Harlem, you can’t miss Cherry Tree Park, three basketball courts and in the background, on the wall of El Barrio PS109, a graffiti painting for Puerto Rican community, realized by Nicolas Romero Escalada. 4 minutes away, on the 3rd Ave another masterpiece of MADSTEEZ , a wall painted with the iconic sneakers brands for all sneakers addicted.


Dyckman Park

Inwood, Puerto Rican neighborhood, hosts Dyckman Park home town of Dyckman Basketball Tournament, one of the main tournaments of New York City area since 1990. In the past several Nba stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kemba Walker and DeMar Derozan dropped by.

Marcus Garvey Park

The last stop of Harlem basketball courts is Marcus Garvey Park recently renewed and inhaugurated on June 1st for Creative Courts initiative, in partnership with Fb Air Program and New York City Parks. Shining colors and paintings adorn the field, designed and realized by the artist Saya Woolfalk.

As usual, here you find further informations and details to reach Harlem playgrounds.

A new basketball story is coming!


Subway A B C D (125 Street Station)
St Nicholas Ave &, St Nicholas Terrace
Monday – Sunday 06:00 – 22:00

Subway B D (155 St)
280 W 155th St
Monday – Sunday 07:00 – 22:00

Bus M101 M102 M103 (3 Av/E 99 St)
205 E 99th St
Monday – Sunday 06:00 – 21:00

Bus M100 (10 Av/W 204 St)
Nagle Ave & W 204th St
Monday – Sunday 06:00 – 21:00

Bus M1 (W 120 St/5 Av) (Madison Av/E 121 St)
6316, Mt Morris Park W
Monday – Sunday 06:00 – 22:00

Chiara Mezzini
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