What’s the Best Playground in Your City?

Are some playgrounds objectively the best, or is it a matter of taste? My child is too young to stand or walk without holding on to something, so we take her to a “parking lot” – one that is not part of a large playground where big children (and for us “big” means no diapers ) and use equipment that is not age-appropriate.

So we haven’t reached our best playground years yet. I look forward to seeing her take full advantage of the benefits: spiral slides, covered tunnels, climbing walls.

New York has several playgrounds for children of all ages. For toddlers, there are donated (discarded?) Plastic walkers at the Underhill Playground in Crown Heights and Harry Chapin’s Playground in Brooklyn Heights. For older children, there is an extravagant water park at Pier 6 Playgrounds, filled with the thrilling Lord of the Flies atmosphere. In Astoria, Rainey Park has a climbing wall.

Governor’s Island features ultra-long hillside slides and a play: groundNYC where kids can hammer nails into a tree, with large hand-drawn signs encouraging parents to relax and let their kids run.

What I really like – and may return – is the classic wood style I grew up in, which is far superior to today’s conventional static head. You know, the one they built on Sesame Street . At the Ancient Playground of Central Park, this is not much, but not enough. The Governor’s Island playground just outside the food court does a great job with wood and rope.

None of this is as enjoyable as the old wooden castles I explored at home — the vast school playgrounds in Livonia and Lima, the public playgrounds in Henrietta next to the library. Of course, these things turned into death traps and needed to be replaced, so I can see the effective appeal of durable plastic made for a limited school budget. But if you know where to find a preserved wooden playground in good condition, I want to hear that.

Okay, one playground is more fun than these: the new megastructures at Domino Sugar Park on Williamsburg’s waterfront. I mean, there is a three story tower with a tunnel to the tree house, full length covered slides, really something special. Hopefully it is still in good shape when my child can get through it.

Parents, ex-kids, and teen nightlife Lifehacker, what are your favorite playgrounds? What’s the extra drive worth? Where can you leave the kids, relax on a nice shady bench, maybe grab a bite to eat at the diner? Besides the usual prefab ladders and campfire pillars, what playgrounds have unique features? What playgrounds of your youth are still standing? Where can memories be made? Which play areas are especially suitable for large children, young children, or children with special needs?

Let us know below – don’t forget to name your city – and we’ll post your best comments in the Staff tab. Applications are accepted from the country, suburb and city, as well as from anywhere in the world.


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