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Queens Residents Claim Parks Department Has Left Tennis Courts In Disarray

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Some Queens residents say they're getting a backhand from the city parks department.

They claim the city has left their local tennis courts in disarray.

"I don't know how smart I am, but I'm very fast," Vinny Vulpio told CBS2's Jessica Moore.

He's smart enough to know that poor maintenance of the Kissena Park Tennis Courts in Flushing is putting a damper on his twilight years.

"I caught a nail going backwards and I bent it," he said.

The Har-Tru clay courts require a lot of water to stay solid and safe. When they dry out, holes develop in the clay and nails start to surface.

Rose Cooperman is desperate for help from the city.

"We complain, we write letters, we petition, and we've gotten to the point where we're getting old and we want to be able to enjoy the rest of our lives," she said.

Residents said the sprinkler's timer system lasted only one season. Now someone from the parks department manually turns the sprinklers on, but the water doesn't even reach the entire court.

"You have the lines and the back court. You need the whole enchilada, so to speak, covered with water," Cooperman said.

CBS2 asked a parks employee to explain, but he wouldn't say much.

"The people who put it in, they were supposed to – well, I don't want to say," he said.

"Watering tennis courts is a pretty basic thing," NYC park advocate Geoffrey Croft said.

The situation at Kissena Courts isn't an anomaly. CBS2's cameras captured trash, beer bottles and rundown conditions at parks across the city.

"Public safety is a big issue, and day-to-day maintenance has always been an issue, and the city just shrugs its shoulders and says we're doing a great job," Croft said.

The parks department said it has not received any complaints on the condition of the courts, so CBS2 sent along the evidence of what it found.

Vulpio and his friends hope the department will serve up a solution soon.

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