Beach volleyball is finally making the trip from Manhattan Beach to the island of Manhattan.
The sport that grew up on the West Coast will visit Hudson River Park this weekend - the AVP's first event in New York City in the 33-year history of the domestic beach volleyball tour.
''I'm interested in seeing what New York beach volleyball fans consist of,'' said Jake Gibb, a two-time Olympian who has won his last four AVP events with his partner, Casey Patterson. ''I hope it's a great thing. I hope New York delivers. I think it can be a good thing for the AVP.''
The second event on the tour's seven-event schedule this summer, the New York City Open is the only tournament in the Northeastern United States this year. The AVP has played in Atlantic City, Belmar, Seaside Heights and elsewhere on the Jersey Shore, but the trip to Manhattan will be its first.
To mark the occasion, AVP stars and Olympic medalists Kerri Walsh Jennings and April Ross, joined by rising star Emily Day, will visit the observation deck at the Empire State Building. Walsh Jennings, who dislocated her shoulder at an international event last weekend, will not play in Manhattan; Ross will partner with Jennifer Fopma.
The tournament begins Thursday with men's qualifying at Hudson River Park and women's at Brooklyn Bridge Park. The main draw begins on Friday. Admission is free, and the event also includes clinics, music and interactive games.