Jacob Benison, Reportorial Illustration, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 17 July 2005.

Celebrating a Street-ball Mecca

The illustration above recreates a typical afternoon at Sarasota’s legendary Newtown Recreational Center, the Rec, as it would have looked in the 1970s.

In its heyday, the Newtown Recreational Center served as a proving ground for many local basketball players, some of whom later would play professionally.

Street-ball wizards built their legends there. Construction workers played there, too, and often in steel-toed boots. Even NBA players showed up at the place where paramedics were called more often than fouls.

It was simply an outdoor basketball court surrounded by pine trees on 34th Street, but once you reached it, once you touched it, once you survived it, your life could change forever.

— Chris Anderson, Sarasota Herald-Tribune, 17 July 2005

The background of this private family photo shows the legendary basketball court on a quiet day in May of 1971.
In this satellite image, a green outline marks the location of the original court, replaced in 1975 by an indoor facility.
Above, a perspective drawing shows a vantage point just above the west side of the court. Below, a preliminary sketch echoes the final composition.