About Brooklyn Playgrounds

Toddler's love playgrounds. We've visited a lot of them. Here's what we think.

Brooklyn Playgrounds is an ongoing project where we visit and review the playgrounds across Brooklyn, New York City and the surrounding region. We had a pandemic baby in the spring of 2021 who is now old enough to climb, slide, hang, balance, hide, and whatever else kids do in playgrounds. Follow along on our journey as we rate playgrounds and write up our experiences.

Not Your Nanny

aka Annmarie Pisano

I'm Annmarie. I'm a producer and project manager whose work has included broadcast commercials, documentary films, branded content, print ads, and events. I've supported major creatives in all media to launch their dream projects - is yours next?

A photo of Annmarie Pisano smiling in front of a brick wall

Playground Papa

aka Ian MacAllen

Ian MacAllen is the author of Red Sauce: How Italian Food Became American.

Ian is writer, designer, and critic. He contributes regularly to the Chicago Review of Books, and has written for Whetstone, Insider, New Jersey Monthly, The Millions, The Brooklyn Rail, and others. He is the founder of Design Is The Message, a design-led marketing firm and Creative Director and co-founder of DECOPOP, a digital marketing agency.

He formerly worked as Senior Food Correspondent for the Italian American
outlet America Domani, and previously served as Deputy Editor at The Rumpus.  He lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.

Find out more about him at ianmacallen.com.

Photo of Ian MacAllen who is stunningly handsome and rakish good looks


About our rating system

The playground rating system is based on our totally unscientific but highly accurate opinion. We've been to a lot of playgrounds, and if we say a playground is worth visiting, it probably is. We have debated offering half-star scores just in case we disagree. Maybe one day. For now we simply debate the merits of each playground and score it according to one through five stars. 

One-star playgrounds have a serious flaw, and are likely only good in emergencies. 

Two-star playgrounds typically have some minor flaws or one major flaw. 

Most playgrounds are going to hit dead center in the three-star range. These are functional, fun, and a good safe bet. 

To achieve a four-star rating, playgrounds must go above and beyond. These typically have a good mix of equipment, and are generally worth going out of your way to visit. 

The ultimate five-star rating is reserved for top quality playgrounds, devoid of serious flaws and most importantly, fun for children to play on. These are the rare destination playground worth an extra trip on the subway to visit.


About the Rat-O-Meter

There's nothing scientific about the rat-o-meter, but it does correspond to rat sightings. The rat-o-meter was inspired by the Ten Eyck Playground which we affectionately refer to as "rat park" because of the large number of rats. 

Roughly here is the breakdown: 

One rat means we have no evidence of rats, including bait traps set by the parks department, and the playground is relatively clean of trash and food waste, suggesting it's unlikely rats would be there. 

Playgrounds with a score of two rats include any playground where there is evidence of rat activity, like a rat hole or rat bait traps or food waste, but no actual rats. 

A score of three rats typically means we have clear evidence of rat activity, even if we haven't seen a rat. 

A score of four rats means we've seen a rat in or around the playground. 

Five rats indicates that we have seen rats more than once or climbing on playground equipment. Rats should typically be fearful of human contact and a score of five rats means they have learned to live with us without fear.

Technically six rats is off the chart, but I did make an image to indicate this. If you see a score of six rats, the rat-pocalypse is upon us and you should plan to defend yourself against an army of aggressive rats.

If you see this image on a playground, prepare for the war of the rats.


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