If you are in search of a lively diversion for your day in Central Park, give handball a try. It is a fun and calorie-burning game that can be played in small or large groups.

Handball originated in Ireland and has become popular in the United States. It is an ideal city game because all of the equipment you need can fit in your pocket. Handball is in many ways similar to racquetball. It is played in groups of two or four. The objective is to return each serve before the ball hits the floor of the court two times.

In the North Meadow there are 12 handball courts on which you can play. A handball is small enough to be stowed in a backpack or purse, but if you don't bring one you can borrow one from the North Meadow Recreation Center. All you need is a valid picture ID.

If you are playing individually or with a small group, you don't need a reservation, but large groups and tournaments do. In some cases you will need to fill out a permit application. The handball courts at North Meadow are open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

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