A new playground is always cause for celebration in our book, and the debut of the long-awaited Battery Playscape in Lower Manhattan brought a spectacular, new, expanded play area to the neighborhood. We recently checked out the 1.5-acre playground, which is destined to land on our list of the city's best playgrounds.
Read on for the details on this new romping spot and find more of our favorite places to play in our Guide to Parks and Playgrounds in NYC.
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The Bluff is the spot to go if your kid has a need for speed!
Situated in the heart of The Battery and adjacent to SeaGlass Carousel, the Battery Playscape is the newest edition to this family-friendly slice of Manhattan's waterfront. Its proximity to the ferries to the Statue of Liberty, Staten Island, and Governors Island means it will see plenty of foot traffic from locals and tourists alike—and those visitors are in for a treat.
Replacing the dilapidated wooden climbing structure of yesteryear, The Battery Playscape is three times the size of the old playground and includes five separate interactive, nature-inspired play zones: The Bluff, Riverbed, Marsh, Dune and Meadow, and the Showbox.
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The Battery Playscape's innovative design takes into account its waterfront, flood-prone location.
Beyond being chock-full of interactive play spaces, The Battery Playscape was designed post-Superstorm Sandy and is built to flood and recover utilizing a combination of salt-tolerant landscaping and elevated play areas.
While kids might not appreciate the flood mitigation techniques of the landscaping, they revel in the elevated treehouses, connected by rope bridges and climbing structures.
The climbing wall at the Dune is not only a fun spot for kids, but it adds functional seating to the theater area on the opposite side.
Seemingly everything in the playground is multi-functional. Its ultra-cool Showbox theater is a space for imaginative play and public programming. Upon first glance, The Dune is a geometric climbing structure, complete with a bouldering wall, but peek over that wall's edge and you'll see it also acts as stadium seating for the audience, whether you're seeing a professional production or one showcasing growing imaginations.
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Climbing nets take kids to the elevated treehouses that make up the main play area at The Battery Playscape.
The centerpiece of the Marsh area is the climbing structure of interconnected playhouses. Four are elevated, allowing big kids to climb high and take in the stunning waterfront views—if they're not too distracted by their adventure. On the ground level, find three more houses that invite little ones to enjoy imaginative play, built-in percussion instruments, and even a game of peek-a-boo through the windows.
For kids with a need for speed, the Bluff is the place to be: Five ultra-fast granite slides await; think Central Park's Billy Johnson Playground multiplied. There's one long, curving slide, that starts 18-feet above the well-padded surface, plus four straight slides of varying lengths, including one pair perfect for a parent-and-child to careen down together! Both pairs of straight slides are also wheelchair accessible as is another treehouse that overlooks the Marsh.
The Battery Playscape's landscaping marries the natural environment with the kid-friendly play area.
Housed between the Marsh and Bluff, you'll find the Riverbed. Right now, it's a broad sandbox, but summer weather will bring the added fun of water that runs through the space much like the rivers surrounding Manhattan itself. Dig deep to uncover creatures who live in New York Harbor. We'll definitely be bookmarking this spot for a summer return!
The Battery Playscape is now open daily. Winter hours are 7am-6pm; beginning March 2, it's open 7am-9pm.
Photos by the author