By Gabriela Resto-Montero
MIDTOWN EAST — Batter up! It's time to play ball at the Queensboro Oval.
After waging a months-long campaign against a Parks Department agreement that would put a tennis bubble over the field year-round, softball players received permits Thursday to play at the Oval during the summer 2010 season.
"Yes Virginia...there IS softball under the 59th Street Bridge this coming summer," wrote Bradley Cohen, who has held a permit on the field for decades, to supporters in an e-mail.
"The Easter Bunny dropped its egg a few days late, but nevertheless, we'll take it," Cohen added.
The softball players began protesting against the tennis bubble plan, which was initiated by the Sutton East Tennis Club, in January when they first learned about the contract.
Their efforts to save their ballfield, which sits beneath the Queensboro Bridge, included passing out fliers, writing letters to the Parks Department and testifying against the decision at two public hearings.
Additionally, Community Board 8 passed a resolution in March opposing the Parks Department agreement with Sutton East Tennis Club to install the bubble.
Prior to the agreement, Sutton East occupied the field eight months out of the year, and recreational softball players used it during the summer months.
Tennis supporters had argued that the bubble made better use of the space and that the club would have to lay off 50 tennis club employees for the summer if the bubble was not allowed to remain in operation.
At the CB 8’s full board meeting on March 17, Tony Skolnick, owner and operator of Sutton East, said he felt the club had an enforceable contract with the Parks Department.
The Parks Department did not immediately return calls for comment.
The softball season will kick off at the Oval on Tues., May 4, at 7 p.m.