I don’t know what I expected to find right outside Broadway Junction, Brooklyn’s wildest subway station, but this is a new and modern set-up that’s chock-full of little sensory stations that most kids should love. It’s large, with big separated areas for big and small children, but both sides kept us busy for a long time. The toddler section also has a tractor thingy that was very, very popular. Some of the pieces seem too advanced or risky – like a ladder with miniscule footholds and these concrete humps to jump on – but it seems like the planners thought of almost everything, and how to incorporate almost every child into the fun.
Broadway Junction is better known for transferring between trains than it is as a destination for families with children, but the Callahan-Kelly Playground might change that.
A friend recommended we check this one out. It was a bit far for us to walk, so we hopped on the subway and exited the station at Broadway Junction. The station is a hub for the J, L, and A/C, and we're more likely to pass through here on the way to the Rockaways or JFK than plan an afternoon wandering around East New York.
Technically the station and the playground are still in Bed-Stuy, in the Ocean Hill section, a neighborhood that is starting to gentrify, which might explain the city's investment in the new playground. The new playground only just opened in August of this year, and it shows.
The playground is a bright green and yellow, somewhat unique among the playgrounds we've seen. This place was huge with a toddler and larger kid section spreading out across the whole site.
Our toddler started out on the bigger kid equipment, but quickly found some of it a bit more challenging than he was interested in exploring. The toddler section was a good fit and big enough and different enough he was very entertained. He probably would have kept playing here long after we were ready to go.
The toddler side had a deconstructed tractor / bulldozer that he liked playing in.
There were lots of sensory panels of all sorts across the equipment and even attached to the perimeter fence.
The one thing I found problematic was these little round mounds that were meant for balancing. Most of the parks now have rubberized or padded toadstool-shaped balance steps. But these concrete mounds were slippery, difficult to balance on because they were curved, and very hard to land on. It was, pardon the pun, a misstep.
Since it was relatively new, there wasn't too much shade and on a warmer day that could be a problem.
Overall we loved this playground and will definitely plan a trip out here again.
William E. Callahan and Edward E. Kelly both lived nearby and were killed in World War I. The latest renovation was started in 2016 and completed in August of 2023 for more than $21m.