A nice neighborhood playground at the top of Central Park, this playground has limited options for older children.
We arrived late in the afternoon in early February–one of those rare sunny days this year. The playground was already in the shade with the sun blocked by a rocky outcropping, and I'm sure in the height of summer this would be a feature rather than a bug, but in the middle of winter, it was just cold. (By contrast, the East 110th Street playground was in full sun with nothing casting shadows except the trees).
The playground area is also rather quiet because its sunken below the roadway, so even though the tops of buses are visible passing by on 110th Street, it remained quiet down in the valley.
The playground is definitely more likely to appeal to small toddlers. Even our toddler found the selection of equipment boring, and primarily wanted to play in the sandbox.
Each section of the playground is well separated from the other, so the toddler equipment, water feature, rope tower, and tire swing each has its own section. However, overall the playground is kind of sparse. The lack of equipment made it easy to keep track of our kid, but also meant it was kind of a boring place to play.
The one section with climbing and spinning equipment also had mounds underneath the rubbery ground material. This weird playground feature was the one interesting element at this playground.
The equipment is painted a gray color that blends into the surroundings, but also adds to the depressing, this-isn't-fun feeling. I would bet that some elderly Central Park Conservancy board member complained that the brightly colored playground equipment was garish and ugly.
When we spoke to some other parents with children in the sandbox they mentioned that it was usually a crowded playground and were surprised, despite the chilly temperatures, at how empty it was.
A pair of pre-teens showed up and one of them said to the other that the playground was "way funner" before the most recent renovation. (They referenced the removal of a piece of equipment that was no longer there). But that was my general impression too.
The modernization efforts undertaken by the Central Park Conservancy aren't necessarily improving the playgrounds, but rather is bringing them inline with what a childless-person's idea of a playground should be.
The playground was original designed in the 1930s. The lack of equipment is apparently a design feature.