8. The Neighborhood’s Historic West Side Tennis Club Once Hosted the U.S. Tennis Open

West Side Tennis Club match
West Side Tennis Club

Though the U.S. Tennis Open is currently held in Flushing Meadows Corona Park at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, it once took place just a few miles away in Forest Hills at the West Side Tennis Club. Founded in 1892, the West Side Tennis Club’s original 13 members first rented land on Central Park West that contained three clay courts and a small clubhouse. However, this soon became too expensive and ten years later in 1902, the club moved uptown to land near Columbia University before making its way across the city to Forest Hills in 1912, after a committee voted to purchase a 10-acre plot in the area. The club’s Tudor-style clubhouse and fields were officially finished being constructed in 1914.

The U.S. National Championship (later renamed the U.S. Tennis Open in 1968) is the oldest tennis championship in the world, first beginning in Newport, Rhode Island in August 1881. A few years later in 1915, the National Championship would move to the West Side Tennis Club after a group of 100 tennis players signed a petition in favor. They argued that as most tennis clubs and fans were located in New York City, it was the most logical choice to officially move the championship there. However, the move was opposed by a group of eight former national champions and the issue was brought to a vote in February 1915 at the annual USNLTA meeting. The final verdict came to be 129 in favor versus 119 against the move.

From this point on, the West Side Tennis Club would serve as the official location for 60 U.S. Open Championships, first from 1915-1920, and then again from 1924-1977. The club would end its run as the purveyor of the country’s premier tennis competition in 1978 upon the opening of the USTA National Tennis Center. Housing the Forest Hills Stadium, the West Side Tennis Club is currently used today mainly as an outdoor concert venue. Some notable performers who have performed at the stadium include The Beatles, Bob Dylan, and The Rolling Stones.