By Jennifer R Jones | Posted on March 20, 2010 11:00 AM
Union Square is no longer just for market vegetables and artisanal breads. The Parks Department and the Union Square Partnership officially opened a new 15,000-square-foot playground this week, just in time for spring. This playground is three times larger than the previous one. And play equipment (including swings and climbing rocks) is just the beginning—certain features will make their debut when it gets (even) warmer. The new playground has three separate “rooms” dedicated to different age groups and equipment. Toddlers get swings and climbing platforms; school-age kids are offered play equipment and a spray shower; and the last area offers more of a free-for–all experience with monkey bars and a tube slide. Landscaped gardens surround the area. In addition, the whole north side of the park will be renovated: A newly overhauled pavilion will offer a district office, a recreation space and perhaps a café starting in early summer. The Greenmarket itself is also gearing up for spring with a wider selection of fruits and vegetables as the weather warms up. (In coming weeks, expect asparagus, new potatoes, and perhaps artichokes.) The Market is open for business Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, from 8 am – 6 pm. Want to know more about the square and its origins? Free walking tours depart every Saturday at 2 PM; they leave from the Abraham Lincoln Statue near 16th Street. Participants will explore the social, political, and architectural history of the area--expect plenty of discussion along the way. (Reservations are required for groups, but not individuals.) And, oh yes, perhaps the best news of all for patrons? Five new bathrooms will be added, three of which will make their debut next month in the new comfort station.