Posted on August 07, 2009
Two of New York’s venerable playgrounds have just reopened on both sides of the park, and that’s good news both for kids and their sometimes frazzled, what-shall-we-do-today parents. Both playgrounds, originally built in the 1970s, were dubbed "adventure playgrounds” after those that sprang up in Europe after World War II, when kids used debris from the war in their games. This concept eventually became integrated into the planning of playgrounds that encourage creative, imaginative play, and rely mostly on organic forms that utilize elements such as slides and ropes. The West 100th Street Playground (in Central Park) features a climbing cone, a “sand pool,” a bridge, and a tree house. The Ancient Playground is located on Fifth Avenue and 84th Street, across from the Metropolitan Museum of Art; both its name and many of its distinctive features were inspired by the Museum’s ancient collections. The renovation includes new swings, a new water spray activity for toddlers, and new play equipment including a climbing pyramid (perhaps a tip-off as well to Cleopatra’s Needle, the nearby obelisk in Central Park), ramps, and slides. Only four other adventure-style playgrounds remain in Central Park: At West 67th street; East 72nd Street; mid-Park at 63rd Street; and West 93rd Street.