New York Daily Photo Analytics

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

The Cage

This may not look like much, but this ramshackle affair is one of the world's most well-known streetball courts, with some of the finest play in the country. Officially the West 4th Street Courts, commonly The Cage. It is sandwiched between the entrance to the W. 4th street subway station (one of the city's largest), Avenue of the Americas a.k.a. 6th Ave. (one of the city's busiest streets), West 3rd and 4th Streets, playgrounds and handball courts. There is no seating for spectators - onlookers press up against the fence, dodging pedestrian traffic and jockeying for good viewing. The court is smaller than regulation size, so the the action is faster with lots of tough, physical play ("banging"), sometimes resembling urban wrestling more than basketball. The entire court is surrounded by a 20-foot-high chain-link fence - hence the term cage (cage configurations are not unusual in many large cities). Many professional players have cut their teeth here; scouts are frequently on site prospecting for talent. The West 4th Street League that plays there was founded in 1977 by Kenny Graham, a limousine driver. There is a summer tournament, drawing 100,000 visitors from around the world. Prior to 1935, the area was vacant land; from 1935 to 1953 it was a small city park with swings, slides and a bocce court. In 1953 it was taken over by the parks department and in the 1950s it was paved and basketball hoops were added. I am not a sports or basketball fan, but the fast games with constant action are quintessential NYC. And the banter between players is some of the best sarcasm and comedy I have heard. The Cage has been featured in films and TV commercials. A book was written: Inside the Cage: A Season at West 4th Street's Legendary Tournament. Do you want a slice of real, classic NYC - gritty, harsh, fast, in-your-face? Visit the the Cage, watch a game and listen ...

10 comments:

Aigars Bruvelis said...

I'd love to slam dunk there:)

riniroo said...

Thanks once again for the history. I see NY's true colors.

Sonia said...

Your blog is just great! Love the photos!

May I ask a question? (I don't know if I will express my question well, because I don't write well in English). Anyway, here is the question: how you can show up large photos on your blog? My blog is also by Blogger and I can't do it. Thanks!

Brian said...

sonia -
This is tricky because Blogger is now using redirects. If you email me (brian@newyorkdailyphoto.com) I can give you instructions.
Brian

Anonymous said...

This has undoubtedly seen the early beginnings of future NBA stars.
Looks like classic, iconic New York City.

Gaurav said...

great post

Martel said...

Hello, I present my blog photographs to you on a small city : Martel. in the Quercy (the black perigord in France), the area of the foie gras and the omelette to boletus.

mon blog of photographs on the town of Martel.

Heidi said...

Another great post... thanks always for the great info and history.

Anonymous said...

good photo - brought back memories for me - played some pretty vicious games there in '65-'66.
Backboards were perforated metal then tho'. Thankz!

Anonymous said...

Did anyone see Bruce Willis at a game in August sometime? My friend went there and thought she saw him. Just being curious, Darlene