07/02/2009 11:58 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Cricket Comeback as a New York Pastime

Cricket is enjoying a resurgence on these shores. From Canarsie to Miami, Los Angeles to Atlanta, membership in leagues is rapidly expanding due to the influx of immigrants from the Caribbean, India and Pakistan.

Canarsie Park in Brooklyn now has bragging rights to a regulation-sized cricket pitch thanks in large part to a renovation project funded by Mayor Bloomberg, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz and Councilmember Lewis Fidler.

Last Saturday, anyone attending the 2009 Mayor's Cricket Cup Tournament finals could walk away with the feeling that they just took part in a mini-United Nations event. Over seventy-five flags dotted the perimeter of the field, each flag representing a country where cricket is either the national pastime or enjoys a certain degree of prominence as a sport - from the Caribbean to Asia and Africa.

At the tournament finals on Saturday, the borough of Manhattan challenged the borough of Queens for the championship title, with Manhattan emerging victorious. Coverage of the match was streamed live by New York Cricket.

Cricket in New York is not a new phenomenon. As far back as 1751, the New York Gazette and the Weekly Post Boy reported an account of a match between a London 'eleven' and one from New York City. And in 1786, the New York Independent Journal ran an ad for cricket equipment. By the early 1900s, however, interest in cricket had tapered off.

Now let's fast-forward to June 2009. In his introductory remarks last Saturday, NYC Parks Commissioner Adrian Benepe pointed out that there are approximately 4,000 adults in the league, 23 teams in the Public Schools Athletic League (PSAL), 8 youth teams, a women's league and 200 adult teams. But now cricket is enjoying a comeback in New York.

(Photo Credits: Bob Rieves)

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