From Ashes to Hard Courts: Can Willets Point Be Saved?

Charles Akah wants to stay put in Willets Point. Ruthie Kornblatt-Stier

“About half-way between West Egg and New York the motor road hastily joins the railroad and runs beside it for a quarter of a mile, so as to shrink away from a certain desolate area of land,” wrote F. Scott Fitzgerald in his 1925 novel, The Great Gatsby. “This is the valley of ashes.” In September 1999, in the exact place Fitzgerald describes, Serena Williams won her initial U.S. Open Final, becoming the first Black woman to win a Grand Slam tournament since Althea Gibson, in 1956. And in

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