The name of the place is Seaside Park - or is it Asser Levy? The men who gather here several times a week suggest these possibilities after ten minutes of heated discussion. But the real name hardly matters, since the small park at Surf Avenue and West 5th Street, just a short walk down the Boardwalk from Nathan's and the Cyclone, is known as only one thing, "the Mecca." Specifically, the park, with its 11 courts, is New York's Mecca of one-wall handball. This version of the sport - a gritty, urban game played elsewhere on three or four walls - is a distinctly New York phenomenon. Here at the Mecca, the National One Wall Championships are held each Memorial Day, and a community of older handballers gathers year-round to play and socialize.
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