Bayside community will rally to save the North Shore Tennis and Racquets Club

Photo by Jenna Bagcal/QNS

While the fate of the North Shore Tennis and Racquets Club (NSTRC) hangs in the balance, members of the Bayside community are planning a rally to save the historic institution.

The Bayside Historical Society (BHS) has organized a rally for this Saturday to convince the tennis club’s board to not sell the property to a developer.

“The Tennis Center is currently being offered for sale by Cushman & Wakefield Real Estate and plans are to clear the entire property to new development,” said BHS President Paul DiBenedetto. 

Since 1909, the athletic club at 34-28 214th Place has served as “tennis oasis” in northeastern Queens. Back in December, QNS reported that the club was allegedly being sold to developers for the hefty price tag of $12.2 million.

Multiple sources said that the club’s president George Pauliny drafted the contract with developers without the knowledge of a majority of the club’s vested members. Pauliny allegedly told 11 official board members to keep quiet about the deal until it was time to vote.

“An alternate plan that would develop a portion of the club, while keeping the clubhouse and a number of courts intact has been presented to the club’s Board of Directors, but unfortunately was kept from the entire voting membership to consider,” DiBenedetto said. 

The terms of the contract would allow fully and partially vested board members to divide the $12.2 million based on the length of time on the board — about $8,400 would be earned for every year served.

DiBenedetto told QNS that the desired outcome is for the tennis club to stay intact and not be sold to developers.

“But if you must, sell a portion of the property to retain the historic clubhouse and a [to be determined] number of the tennis courts, thus retaining the tennis center in Bayside,” said DiBenedetto. “We would also like the City to explore acquiring the property and operating it through a city agency like the Parks Department. This would be the best possible outcome as it would save the entire property.” 

DiBenedetto also noted that on the NSTRC website is a statement from the club’s board, saying, “We want to continue that tradition by all of us participating in the affairs of the club to ensure that we are all here well beyond the 100th Anniversary celebration of our club.”

We’re only asking them to do what they said they would do in their own statement,” DiBenedetto said. 

The rally is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 26 at 12 p.m. in front of the tennis club.