The renovated Louis Armstrong Stadium was officially dedicated on Wednesday with the help of a tennis legend and a musical performance worthy of its namesake.
Renowned trumpeter Wynton Marsalis led a rousing New Orleans-style second line across the court at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park. The 14,000-seat stadium replaces the World’s Fair-era facility that was the scene of such historic U.S. Open tennis matches as the 1980 John McEnroe vs. Bjorn Borg final.
“As a New Yorker and as a Queens boy, I couldn’t be prouder of this stadium,” McEnroe told the crowd gathered for the dedication. “Enjoy this stadium!”
The stadium has a retractable roof and more than 14,000 terra cotta louvers to keep rain out.
“This stadium was designed from its inception to be naturally ventilated when the roof closes, so we designed it to take advantage of the prevailing winds to keep the players and the spectators comfortable,” said Jon Disbrow, an architect who led the team from Rossetti, the firm that designed the stadium.
Former Mayor David Dinkins, a longtime supporter of the U.S. Open, attended the ceremony along with other elected officials.
The stadium, originally known as the Singer Bowl, was built for the 1964-65 World’s Fair. In 1978, the U.S. Open moved from Forest Hills to Flushing Meadows and the stadium was renovated and renamed for the beloved musician who had lived in nearby Corona.
Katrina Adams, president and CEO of the USTA, called the stadium the “final jewel” in the $600 million transformation plan at the complex which included adding a retractable roof to Arthur Ashe Stadium and constructing a new grandstand.
“It is also fitting that this stadium is on the grounds with Arthur Ashe Stadium,” said Marsalis. “Arthur and Louis were both tireless champions of American civil rights and Arthur absolutely loved jazz.”