West 84th Street Playground Reopens

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The West 84th Street Playground reopened in November 2016 after a six month reconstruction effort.The playground was originally built in 1936 as part of the system of playgrounds constructed under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in the marginal landscapes of the Park. The original playground featured equipment and activities typical of the era—including swings, slides, kinder (sand) tables, a water spray feature, and play houses. The edge of the paved oval footprint (also typical of the marginal playgrounds) was defined by wood and concrete benches, with segments of iron pipe rail at breaks between the runs of benches. The existing seven-foot tall steel picket fence was not installed until the early 1940s, when fences were added to all of the playgrounds. A late-1990s renovation by the Conservancy replaced the original equipment with post-and-platform play structures, a sand box, spring toys and rockers, and new toddler swings.

Rebuilt as part of the Plan for Play initiative, goals for this project included maximizing play value for pre-school-age children and highlighting the open space that users have enjoyed about this playground. The updated playground features a climbing structure with slides, spinners and rockers, more swings, an enhanced water feature, and a revitalized landscape. The entrance path from West 85th Street was reconstructed and low mesh fence and enhanced landscape plantings were added to the perimeter of the playground to improve the relationship between the playground and the surrounding landscape. In addition to the new play equipment are two playhouses that were inspired by similar features in the original 1930s playground.