This one feels very hidden-away, which is funny because it’s right in the middle of one of Manhattan’s busiest public spaces. I love that you can see through the fence and hear everything going on in the park, so you feel like you’re in the action, but it’s hard for people on the outside to see in. After years of coming here I didn’t really know where the playground even was until I looked for it. It’s a nice, modern set-up, but I wish the toddler section had a bit more to it. And I grew up playing on the concrete mounds in this park, so I wish they kept a reference to them here! We used to be a city goddammit, my kid will fall off a dirty hunk of concrete playing tag with strangers if I say so…
This playground feels a bit like a secret club tucked away behind the trees but still overlooking the main fountains. The trees around it give a sense of privacy. The area can get crowded at peak times, but not nearly as busy as other Manhattan playgrounds we've visited.
It’s a great layover on the way to a destination in the city but I wouldn’t plan a day around visiting it. The space can be a shady respite from the rest of the chaos of Washington Square Park.
The equipment is in decent condition, but there isn't all that much of it. One equipment is dedicated to climbing with rope and ladders, but no stairs, with a slide and fireman's pole. The main equipment is on the smaller side but has ramps and is even with the ground.
The toddler area is quite small, and more useful for very young kids with a single step up and short little slide. This is hidden in the back corner and can easily be missed if you aren't looking for it.
There are picnic tables inside the playground area too.
The water feature has three turtles which are fun for climbing even when they are dry. They are dead center in the playground, so hard to avoid when the water is on.
There are working water fountains in the playground area, and these did leave some dampness around them.
There is sand at one side of the playground. This is less of a sandbox and more like a sand pit.
The bathrooms in the park are well used and just across the way beyond the fountain at the center of the park. They are brand new but often have lines, and close earlier than you might expect.
Washington Square Park was last renovated from 2007 to 2009 when the fountain was centered on the archway. At this time the northeast playground was enlarged. The "mounds" that had once defined the play area of the park were removed and new ones built on the southwest corner and covered with synthetic turf. The wealthy people in the area thought the mounds were unsightly and so they were built below grade to help reduce their visibility. The renovation was controversial at the time, but ultimately has created more green space.