You may use any of Parks' recreational spaces, except tennis courts, without a permit. However, if a permit holder arrives with a valid permit in hand, you must vacate the field or court. An individual must have a season permit or single-play ticket to use Parks' tennis courts.
INSIDE WILLOWBROOK PARK ADJ TO CAROUSEL FOR ALL CHILDREN (Staten Island)| Level: 4
CORNER OF BARTOW AVENUE AND PAGE AVENUE (Staten Island)Level: 4 Make Aesop’s valuable fables come to life for your child! At Aesop Playground in Richmond Valley, you can use gorgeous animal sculptures, like the tortoise and the hare, to instill important values in your little one. The playground’s setting, tucked inside a forest of 200 trees, lends to its mythical ambiance, and its play equipment, swings, and spray shower guarantee that families return year after year, long after the beloved fables have been memorized.
BILLINGSLEY TERR, PHELAN PL, SEDGWICK AVE (Bronx)| Level: 2 Long named Billingsley Terrace Playground for the road that wraps around it, this playground was renamed Beanstalk Playground in 2000. Inspired by a steel sculpture of a giant called Phoenix Man that once stood nearby, the play area evokes the Jack and the Beanstalk fairytale. Your child will feel like he’s climbing Jack’s stalk as he traces its path, growing out of a bean-shaped spray shower, winding along the ground, up the ramp, and through the play equipment to a tower. A golden hen and a magic harp also adorn the playground, and huge footprints show the path of the giant. Finally, between rounds of make-believe trips to the giant’s castle, your son or daughter can enjoy game tables and play equipment with safety surfacing.
DRUMGOOLE RD, MAGUIRE AVE (Staten Island)| Level: 1 Recently converted to an ADA accessible playground, Bloomingdale Park’s playground now includes integrated equipment sure to amuse children of all abilities. Swings, accessible play equipment, a spray shower, and a fitness unit keep kids on the move, while parents can monitor activity perched on one of its many picnic tables or benches. Nearby courts and fields for basketball, softball, soccer, and bocce, in addition to several nature trails, often turn a “quick trip” to the playground into an all-day family affair.
SHORE BLVD OPP 23 AVE (Queens)| Level: 4 Although named after a monster in Greek mythology, this playground in Astoria Park is a dear friend to the parents that frequent it with their children. Set in the shadow of the Triborough Bridge, its benches present adults with peaceful scenes of boats gliding past the sunset while kids enjoy its ladders and slides. On steamy summer days, families can head to the outdoor pool steps away for a quick evening dip before it closes at 7:00 p.m.
BILLOPS AVE AND SWINNERTON ST. (Staten Island)| Level: 4 Nestled inside a 220-acre park on the tip of Staten Island, the Lenape Playground offers swings for kids and toddlers, play equipment, and game tables. The playground’s location at the intersection of several nature trails makes its lawn and seats popular resting spots for groups and individuals exploring the area’s sights.
BETWEEN LEXINGTON & 3 AVENUES, EAST 122 & 123 STREETS (Manhattan)| Level: 4 Perfect for anyone who’s ever played astronaut, this themed playground gives children a chance to explore outer space. Its sprinkler is built into a steel ring that resembles a planet in orbit, a cratered gray dome lets children perch on the moon, and a climber gives kids the chance to clamber through a representation of the moon’s monthly phases. Finally, a miniature spaceship gives young visitors a chance to do their own pretend piloting.
DRUMGOOLE ROAD WEST, RATHBUN AVENUE AND CARLTON BOULEVARD (Staten Island)| Level: 2 At Drumgoole Tot Lot, accessible recreational equipment, swings, benches, and picnic table allow young park users to play and climb. The playground is appropriately named in honor of Father John Drumgoole, an Irish priest who was a child-care pioneer and founder of St. Vincent’s Home for Homeless Newsboys at Mount Loretto. The goal of this project was to provide a playground for community children of all abilities between the ages of two and five.
MYRTLE AVE & ST EDWARDS PLAZA (Brooklyn)| Level: 2 Nothing’s more fun than a time machine, which is why Fort Greene Playground is a desirable destination. In tribute to Fort Greene Park’s origins as the site of a Revolutionary War fort, the play equipment resembles fortresses, and the weathervane on top of the comfort station is shaped like a bald eagle and banner reading “1776.” In addition, thirteen stone pillars feature bronze plaques that identify the state trees and animals of the original colonies. Teach your children about American history while they run through the spray shower or romp on the playground’s safety surfacing! Guaranteed fun to go down in your personal history.
18 AVE & 56 ST (Brooklyn)| Level: 2 Teach your child to climb great heights at an early age at this mountain-themed playground. Items in the play area, including a play mountain, climbing net, rope bridge, and climbing rocks, are positioned to offer an overall simulation of climbing a mountain. The playground also includes standard playground fare like three different sizes of swings for tots through pre-teens, a spray shower area, drinking fountains, slides, and plenty of seating. One play unit has ramps for wheelchair access.
MYRTLE AVE, WOODHAVEN BLVD (Queens)| Level: 4 This accessible playground includes ground level play features, transfer platforms, and spray showers, making it an enjoyable spot for children of all abilities. The skate park (currently under construction) includes seven pieces of equipment for skateboarders and inline skaters to conquer.
RENE CT, GRANDVIEW AV, STANHOPE ST, FAIRVIEW AV (Queens)| Level: 2 Imaginations come to life at this playground! Its make-believe storefronts and Niagara Falls-inspired climbing spray shower with a bridge encourage creative play, while its swings and nearby softball fields, handball courts, basketball courts, and wading pool keep kids moving.
BOLTON AVE BET O'BRIEN & CORNELL AVES (Bronx)| Level: 2 Harding Park is popular among parents with multiple children because of its layout. The swings are close to the spray showers and playground equipment, so mom or dad can keep an eye on multiple little ones at once, and the basketball courts are all the way in the back, giving older kids some space from the tots. There’s also a winding path that leads from the entrance on Gildersleeve Avenue to a contemporary pergola lined with benches in the back.
11 ST & PROSPECT PARK W (Brooklyn)| Level: 2 Located next to the Prospect Park bandshell, this playground allows children to accompany whatever artists may be performing onstage on any given day, or to create music all their own. Its play house includes a playable xylophone, and musical notes are etched throughout. A harp-shaped spray shower is music to everyone’s ears on steamy summer days, as are shady tunnels and bridges on the playground’s southern end.
62 ST, BET WEST & CENTER DRS (Manhattan)| Level: 2 New York City’s largest playground holds 14 swings (two of which are tire swings), as well as seesaws, a wooden suspension bridge, sprinklers, and ballfields. Intrepid little climbers clamber over Umpire Rock, a miniature mountain surrounding the playground. The playground’s sprinkler can also be scaled, providing adventure even when it’s no longer warm outside. Bleachers around the ballfields give parents the opportunity to sit down while their children play, and families relax on the Astroturf circles that dot the playground’s two acres.
W 91 ST & RIVERSIDE DR (Manhattan)| Level: 3 A hippo-themed playspace since a 1993 renovation, this playground draws visitors year-round. In summer, its honey locusts provide much-appreciated shade for parents and children, while spray showers offer a whole other level of relief from the heat. Picnic tables and benches give families places to rest, refuel, and recharge, and a comfort station and water fountains take care of everyone’s basic needs. In winter, a large hill on the playground’s east side serves as an added value. And, of course, there’s the hippos. Tucked alongside traditional playground fare of swings, a jungle gym, slides, and a sand pit, these giant animal statues give kids an opportunity to play within and upon one of nature’s largest land mammals.
W 173 ST & FT WASHINGTONA VE (Manhattan)| Level: 2 Two blocks from the Hudson River, children climb, slide, and run through their own 14-foot replica of the George Washington Bridge. The brightly colored structure is bordered by structural ‘girders’ and contains numerous ladders, a wooden bridge, and a slide. A nearby children’s fountain is bordered by a small fence decorated with silhouettes of raccoons, mice, beavers, and quails.
J. Hood Wright Recreation Center
351 FORT WASHINGTON AVENUE (Manhattan) | Cross Streets:
JULES DR, ELSON CT, REGIS DR (Staten Island)| Level: 1 Built for all children to enjoy, Jennifer’s Playground houses a range of play equipment, all accessible to those with special needs. Small children play in its swings and sandboxes and older children enjoy its basketball hoops, game tables, and water course. Visitors of all ages delight in its children’s garden, fountain, sensory trails, and picnicking areas.
8TH AVE TO FT HAMILTON PKWY, BTWN 66TH AND 67TH STREET (Brooklyn)| Nearly 500 years before Christopher Columbus set foot on North America, the Viking Leif Ericson explored our shores. Now, within the playground named in his honor, your little one can envision what Ericson may have encountered upon landing while playing on the Viking ship-themed play equipment. Surely the Vikings weren’t fortunate enough to meet such an abundance of swings, safety surfacing, benches, gardens, and basketball and volleyball courts, but you can’t blame Brooklyn for sneaking a few modern amenities into this neighborhood gathering ground.
E 25 ST & MADISON AVE (Manhattan)| Level: 3 Renovated in 2001, this spot is continually voted one of the top playgrounds in the city. In 2006, NY Magazine listed it as the Best Outdoor Playground, and in 2008, it was voted in Nickelodeon’s Parents’ Picks 2008 Awards as Best Playground/Park in the city. It features a fifteen-foot-high waterwheel sprinkler with colorful alphabet blocks that squirt water from below (open seasonally), and a highly colorful jungle gym that features two climbing structures designed for smaller and bigger kids. There are four infant swings and one tire swing for older children. During summer months, a recreation specialist is on hand to lead daily art activities and games, and oversee the Exploration Station.
MACKENZIE & ORIENTAL AVES (Brooklyn)| Level: 2 A favorite spot for little pirates, this playground contains with a 36-foot pirate ship, fully equipped out with planks (for walking), a cast-iron cannon (for shooting), a cargo net, and a crow's nest. The water sprinkler provides a symbol of a pirate's tropical paradise, shaped like a palm tree with appropriately rainforest-sized enormous bugs painted on to it. For those of a gentler or more seasick-prone disposition, there are swings for toddlers and children, handball courts, basketball courts, and game tables.
MERCER ST BETWEEN BLEECKER ST AND WEST 3RD ST (Manhattan)| Level: 4 “Mercer Playground is the only place in the area to safely teach your preteen to ride a bicycle, kick a scooter, roller skate or try out their new skateboard. Younger children love the sprinkler in the hot months, and people of all ages can play or relax on the shaded benches and watch the action. Enter at either Bleecker Street or West Third Street just west of Mercer Street, and stretch your fun muscles in this terrific play area!” (Nominated by Terri Cude)
ORCHARD BEACH SECTION 6-7 (Bronx)| Level: 3 Sitting on the 1.3-mile Orchard Beach, Pelican Bay Playground gives kids an added feature to encage and play--the sand. In addition to its large sandbox feel, Pelican Bay Playground offers boat play equipment with safety surfacing, game tables and benches, a drinking fountain, a tire swing, spring animals, and pelican animal art in the spray area. Located next to tennis, basketball, and handball courts, as well as natural areas for hiking, the playground makes a great base for family field trips to the beach.
BRUCKNER EXWY, BUHRE AVE (Bronx)| Level: 1 As its name suggests, this playground has been accessible to all children since 2000. Its adjustable basketball hoops, bleachers with shade covers, game tables, and colorful play equipment make the park comfortable for every kid who enters it. Details like handrails that can be reached by children using crutches or wheelchairs, textured pavement and Braille signs to help guide the blind, and accessible swings make all the difference in the world for young children eager to explore to the best of their ability. In 2006, Parks added a Sensory Garden to the site, which contains a raised wheelchair-accessible planter with evergreens, herbs and flowering vines, and a teardrop garden and evergreen garden with flowers, shrubs and small trees that provide bright colors, varying textures, a plethora of scents and some fruits and flowers that attract birds and butterflies. And if the movement and sounds of kids playing isn’t enough stimulation for your child, the playground serves as host to a variety of family events and children’s programming during the warm weather, under the playground’s large steel gazebo.
111 ST & SAULTELL & 56 AVES (Queens)| Level: 1 Bring your kids to play in a pioneer of playgrounds! The first in the United States built for disabled and able-bodied children, Playground for All Children set a high standard for future accessible sites. Composed of several areas, some for sports, some for environmental education, and others for performances, the playground uses Braille, stair-free paths, play equipment with safety surfacing, and swings and slides at low levels to keep kids of all sizes moving and learning in a safe environment.