Adventure Playground

Schenck Central Park W68th St 2016_04_25 DSC_4937-sm.jpg

Adventure Playground reopened in November 2015 after a rehabilitation effort that addressed accessibility and safety in the playground while also highlighting its historic adventure style and its connection to the surrounding landscape.

The original playground in this location was built in 1936 as part of the system of perimeter playgrounds constructed under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses. The playground was rebuilt in 1966 according to a design by architect Richard Dattner—the first of several playgrounds in the Park that were rebuilt in the adventure style in the late 1960s and early 1970s, replacing the stand-alone equipment of the Moses era with cohesively-designed play environments of interconnected, site-constructed features. Dattner’s design featured a conical climber with tunnels and a slide, several fortress- and maze-like structures, amphitheater steps, water spay feature and intimate gathering nooks located around existing trees. Since then there have been some small interventions in the playground, leaving its overall design largely unchanged.

The Conservancy’s most recent project involved rebuilding some of the original adventure-style features and retrofitting others to meet new standards of safety and accessibility. Some of the most prominent changes included restoring elements that were changed or lost over time, such as reopening tunnels in the conical climber. A new wood climber was installed, based on the original design, and other wood elements were rebuilt. The water feature was completely rebuilt, which allowed the Conservancy to totally upgrade infrastructure and make the feature accessible.  Paths in the surroundings landscape were rebuilt and plantings added to enhance the connections between the park and the playground