This is the legendary court where ‘basketball is at its purest’

Why to watch and how to play hoops at West Fourth Street in Manhattan

Manhattan’s West Fourth Street basketball courts are where former NBA stars like Stephon Marbury, Rod Strickland and Jayson Williams played. Even if you don’t see these players here now, you’ll still witness some of the best street ball in the city on these courts, known as the Cage. It earned its nickname because it’s fenced in on all sides.

“If you can’t master this court, you really can’t play nowhere else,” local high school coach Gregory Hillman told The Washington Post on a steamy July night.

No matter what time of day you pass the Cage, you can easily spend hours mesmerized by the energy of local players hustling during a game of pickup basketball. And if you ever have the urge to prove your skills, in the words of one longtime tournament organizer, just put your name up on the list and shout, “I got next!”

The courts are open year-round, but the best games are seen between May and August when the West Fourth tournament takes place.

Read more:

A local’s guide to Manhattan

This sister-owned bookstore is a haven for fans of romance

A lively cemetery in D.C. offers solace from the crowds