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Queens got talent. United States Tennis Association employees set up mini courts in Corona Plaza and gave free instruction to youngsters this morning. Activities included lessons on basic skills, balance, and coordination, as well as ball-and-racket exchanges and tips on long-term athletic development. The participants used loaned mini-rackets and foam balls, and USTA employees imparted gifts and provided information on low-cost programs at the nearby Billie Jean King National Tennis Center (where the two-week US Open will take place starting on August 25th).

Then as a special treat, officials showed the permanent US Open singles trophies to the awed crowd. It was so much fun that the USTA will do it again in the same plaza next Friday, August 15th, at 10:30 am in conjunction with other activities such as healthy eating demonstrations, a merchant showcase, health screenings, and back-to-school discounts. Corona Plaza project manager William McCarthy hopes to offer these events weekly as part of his “Fridays Under the Seven” healthy living series. In the top photo, Assemblyman Francisco Moya holds the US Open men’s singles trophy, the same one that Rafael Nadal hoisted last year, in the second row, while City Council Member Julissa Ferreras shows the women’s singles trophy, which Serena Williams won last year. Queens Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jack Friedman is in back right in a suit, while Community Board 4 District Manager Christian Cassagnol is in suspenders next to him.  Check out more photos after the jump…

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Whether they are from Spain or Long Island, tennis fans will know what’s going on in Queens from August 26th to September 9th. The USTA has donated a kiosk to serve as an information center for the borough during the 2013 US Open Tennis Championships. Organized by the Queens Chamber of Commerce and the Queens Tourism Council, volunteer staffers will be on hand for the entire two-week tournament to provide information on the borough’s best restaurants, hotels, cultural organizations and parks. Seen in front of the kiosk are the following: Rob MacKay, director of the Queens Tourism Council; Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce; Assemblymember Ron Kim; Assemblymember Marge Markey, who chairs the Committee on Tourism, Parks, Arts and Sports Development; City Council Member Julissa Ferreras; Nancy Conde, chief of staff for State Senator José Peralta’s Office; Seth Bornstein, executive director of the Queens Economic Development Corporation; Daniel Zausner, COO of the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center; and Seth Taylor, executive director of the 82nd Street Partnership.

Details: QTC/QCC Kiosk, USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, August 26th to September 9th, free with admission.

Photo by Megan Montalvo