With free programs offered by the Weehawken Recreation Department, residents are taking instruction and having fun. With proof of residency, residents can enjoy children’s tennis, and ballroom dancing, and the Fall Golf program at a local driving range.
“The drills take time to fully grasp.” – Kate McMahon
“We are seeing more and more children signing up for the classes,” said Kate McMahon of the Recreation Department. “In part, it’s because of our brand new tennis courts along the waterfront.”
The three-court facility is part of the Weehawken Waterfront Park and Recreation Center, a 16-acre park right next to Lincoln Harbor. “For a long time, Weehawken didn’t have access to tennis courts,” McMahon said, “but now it’s a whole different story.”
Tennis instructor Simon Finkelstein has been teaching tennis in the program since it began two years ago.
“This year has been better than ever,” Finkelstein said. “The response has just been crazy. And the courts are beautiful – right on the water.”
Finkelstein teaches the fundamentals to his children so that they might play “high school ball” one day. “I just want to see them progress,” Finkelstein said. “I’m all about tennis, so teaching it to others gives me the rush.”
According to McMahon, there are about 10 kids in each class, which allows for one-on-one time with the instructor. “The drills take time to fully grasp,” McMahon said, “so it’s important that each child has enough practice time.”
Finkelstein, who plays competitively in the winter months, has been playing tennis for over 25 years. He moved to the township eight years ago after living in New York City his entire life.
“I never really had the small town environment,” Finkelstein said. “The programs that the township offers are amazing. I can’t thank them enough for implementing tennis in the township.”
In its sixth year, the Fall Golf program teaches adults and children 12 and up to perfect their golf swing. Hosted at the Edgewater Driving Range, which is one of the closest golf facilities to the township, participants can benefit from free lessons with a golf pro. Although the lessons are free, participants are responsible for their own transportation to and from the facility.
“It’s a great chance for residents to learn how to drive balls and practice their swing,” McMahon said. “We have adults who take lessons and even bring their children along with them.”
The golf instructor is Carnig Nersesian, who focuses on the player’s drives, to maximize accuracy and power. And for the players’ comfort, the two-level driving range even has heated stalls for practicing in cold weather.
Dance the night away
Ballroom dancing instructions are also available through the township at no cost. The classes are open to all residents, from adults to children, and begin on Oct. 7 in the Nutrition Center on Highwood Avenue from 7 to 9 p.m.
The classes are taught by well known dance instructor James Festa, who has been teaching ballroom dancing for over 57 years, since 1952. Festa’s love for ballroom dancing stems from the fact that he is a big fan of former Weehawken resident Fred Astaire.
For more information on any of the township’s programs, call the Recreation Department at (201) 319-6061.
Sean Allocca can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org