In the fourth quarter of a close game, the tension is palpable.
© Anthony Geathers

5 best outdoor basketball courts in New York

Here is a list we compiled of the top five courts in New York City to take in the action, whether you’re looking to play or simply to watch.
By Michael Burgess II
5 min readPublished on
If you had to rank American cities based on their basketball culture, New York City would be at most, if not all of everyone’s list.
One of the many things that add to the aura of New York City’s basketball scene is the legendary courts where this action takes place. Not only are they a fun place to play, but the history of the more than 500 outdoor basketball courts, and the people who play there, make it all the more intriguing. The streetball and local basketball scene has gained the respect of the highest levels of NBA royalty.
The West 4th court is far smaller than a regulation court.

Two high school boys teams run the blacktop.

© Anthony Geathers

Based on the history, the notoriety, the overall design of the courts and its surrounding area, here is a list we compiled of the top five courts in New York City to take in the action, whether you’re looking to play or simply to watch.

13 min

New York City

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Riverbank State Park

Also known as Denny Farrell Riverbank State Park after a local community figure, the basketball courts here are sleek and aesthetically pleasing. The courts are red and green, and there is a logo at halfcourt that reads “Riverbank State Park.” Aside from the court, the park itself has a lot to offer. There is a lap swimming pool, a wading pool, tennis courts, a soccer/football field surrounded by an eight-lane track, a softball field, and paddleball courts. And those are just the exterior facilities. This park has a lot to offer at its 28-acre campus, including an athletic complex, a skate park, and views of the Hudson River that keep locals coming back.
  • Location: 679 Riverside Drive, NY, NY 10031
  • Hours: 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekdays and 6:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends

Happy Warrior Playground

The courts at Happy Warrior Playground have a special place in the heart of New York City basketball culture. The courts are known as “The Goat Courts” after Earl “The Goat” Manigault, a streetball legend who flourished on courts throughout the city in the 1960s and '70s with NBA Hall of Famers like Wilt Chamberlain and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The courts are colored red in the paint, yellow within the three-point line and blue everywhere else, adding a splash of color to the park. Along with basketball courts, there are two handball courts and a playground onsite.
  • Location: West 97 Street and Amsterdam Avenue, NY, NY 10025
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.


Open 24/7/365, the Kingdome in Harlem is legendary. The Kingdome Classic was one of the premier summer basketball tournaments in its heyday, drawing names like Tracy McGrady and Rafer Alston. The court was a great spot for local talents like Harlem natives Hamidou Diallo and Mo Bamba to showcase their talents. The court is colored red and blue, with the midcourt logo being a blue “K” sitting inside a red circle. The Kingdome has seen a resurgence led by the local community, with celebrities and local stars hailing from the area turning up for events and games at the court.
  • Location: 62 Malcolm X Blvd, New York, NY 10026
  • Hours: Open 24 Hours

The Cage

When the action heats up inside the Cage, crowds grow and emotions soar.

When the action heats up inside the Cage, crowds grow and emotions soar.

© Anthony Geathers

Known as “The Cage” for the chain-link fencing surrounding the court, the West 4th Street Courts offer one of the most unique basketball experiences in the world. This court is already smaller than usual, causing play to be a lot more physical. When you add the New York streetball flair of fans standing on the court, it becomes all the more tense. The fan support feels all the more powerful, but the jeering also becomes amplified, making it a tough environment to play in for even the most experienced ballers. The Cage has drawn adoration everywhere: from prominent figures in the basketball world like Dwight Howard to even pop culture icons like Denzel Washington.
  • Location: 272 6th Ave, New York, NY 10012
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Rucker Park

No place captures the essence of New York City’s basketball culture like Rucker Park. It’s not only one of the most popular outdoor courts in New York; to say it’s one of the most popular outdoor courts in the world would not be hyperbole. Located in Harlem, east of the former Polo Grounds location, Rucker Park has drawn prominent names in both the world of streetball and regulation basketball across all eras. From Joe Hammond and Wilt Chamberlain to Chris Mullin to Kevin Durant, the courts here generated a universal level of respect in basketball. The Entertainer’s Basketball Classic was one of the most popular basketball tournaments in the country, drawing talent from all over. Even if you don’t want to play, simply being a spectator is enough of an experience to keep you coming back. The National Basketball Player’s Association (NBPA) funded a full refurbishing of the court last year to allow its legend to continue. Now, the courts sport a sleek black and gold look with brand-new goals surrounded by black chain-link fencing. Rucker Park also offers handball courts, a baseball field and a playground.
  • Location: 280 West 155th Street, NY, NY 10039
  • Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.


New York has more than 500 outdoor basketball courts, allowing ample opportunity to spectate or participate in the unique hooping culture that exists there. Legendary courts like The Cage have been a mainstay in streetball and help cultivate an extraordinary environment you can’t find anywhere else.

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