2013-11-15 / Columnists

Go Parks!

Great Places To Play

Beach 30th Street Playground Beach 30th Street Playground It’s time to take the kids on a playground adventure! NYC Parks offers over a thousand playgrounds citywide and over 200 of them have been built or renovated in the last five years. As one of the designers of great outdoor spaces for NYC Parks, I’d like to personally invite you to discover them with your family and friends for a great day outdoors.

NYC Parks Playgrounds are designed as a total environment by landscape architects. We work closely with playground manufacturers to design unique play equipment pieces alongside old favorites. Customization ensures that playground features complement our environment and designs. Each piece or component is geared to a particular age range. For example, low slides and climbers, with lots of hand holds and imaginative ground level features are designed to help younger children develop balance, agility, and strength. Older children have more upper-body strength and enjoy more challenging equipment.

Blue Heron Tot Lot Playground. Photos courtesy NYC Parks Blue Heron Tot Lot Playground. Photos courtesy NYC Parks Kids love challenges, and they love options. Net climbers are a new component developed by playground equipment manufacturers, and they provide a unique experience that is a good addition to our stationary climbers and slides. Kids climbing these nets can find their own path up, down or around.

The movement of one child on the climber affects the others, providing an additional challenge and experience that children learn from and love. As kids climb and play, they get exercise and have fun while learning cooperation and navigation. Places to find net climbers include: John Jay Playground in upper Manhattan; Elmhurst Park Playground in Elmhurst, Queens; John F. Murray Playground in Long Island City, Queens; Brooklyn Bridge Playground at Pier 6, Brooklyn; Minetta Playground in the Village in Manhattan; and Heckscher Playground in Central Park.

Schmul Playground Schmul Playground Our playgrounds are designed to offer the richest play experience for all abilities. All include accessible drinking fountains, companion seating, and benches with backs and arm rests. New features include spinning pieces, and music-making and visual-effect components. We have added innovative and universally accessible swings. Slides now come in many forms and sizes. Play houses, play tables or counters, small seats and manipulative panels provide imaginative play opportunities for toddlers. Some recent exciting and exceptionally-designed playgrounds include: Hester Street Playground in Sara D. Roosevelt Park near Canal Street, which is a Chinatown playground with an Asian theme; Brooklyn Bridge Main Street lot, which is a ship-themed playground; Morningside Playgrounds between 116th Street and 124th Street in Manhattan, with designs reflecting their location in a historic park; Schmul Playground in Staten Island near the beautiful rolling hills of Fresh Kills; Rainey Playground on Vernon Blvd in Queens, with a design inspired by the work of sculptor Isamu Noguchi; and, of course, the Beach 30th Street Playground in Far Rockaway, with its beautiful sea-inspired colors.

Pearl Street Playground Pearl Street Playground Remember, adults entering NYC playgrounds must be accompanied by a child. No kids? No problem. In recent years, NYC Parks has added both Skate Parks and Adult Outdoor Gym areas to our parks. One of our first Outdoor Gyms can be found at Macomb's Dam Park in the Bronx. The response to this “Adult Playground” has been overwhelmingly positive. An extensive list of new skate parks can be found on our web site at www.nyc.gov/parks/skateparks. For more information about NYC Parks playground locations and features citywide, and important rules and regulations about using them, go to www.nyc.gov/parks. Go Play! Go Park!

Drumgoole Tot Lot Playground Drumgoole Tot Lot Playground Nancy Prince is a Landscape Architect and Deputy Chief of Design for NYC Parks & Recreation

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