The New York City Department of Parks operates 1,800 basketball courts in the five boroughs, where some of the best games in history have been staged without a single fan watching. That doesn’t even count schoolyards, which are maintained by the Department of Education and individual schools, or courts which are overseen by the New York City Housing Authority.
At the height of the coronavirus pandemic, the city demolished more than 2,100 rims around the city to discourage people from gathering in groups. A spokesperson for the Parks Department said all rims, which were down from April to July 2020, have been returned. But keeping netting on all rims in all parks is not an option, so the city doesn’t even try. Wear, removal and vandalism are just too much to deal with.
“I get it,” Amador said, “because there are so many parks everywhere that they should be putting up nets all the time. That’s where I come in.”
Originally from Rio Piedras in Puerto Rico, Amador moved to New York City 27 years ago, working in real estate until recently. He’s looking to get into something else, but in the meantime he plays basketball two or three times a week and replaces the nets at his favorite courts as needed, about every nine weeks.
“The amount of play that these parks are getting is amazing,” he said. “It’s a lot and the nets really don’t last.”