CULTURE: Getting your kids to pass out before Happy Hour PART 1: The Rundown On Children’s Parks Below Canal 5.18.17
When it comes to free children’s entertainment, aka playgrounds, nothing beats what we’ve got below Canal Street. As the weather gets warmer, the days get longer, and the kids have more energy (and free time) than ever, we wanted to provide you a rundown of the play spaces downtown that offer fun for the whole family, as well as what you can do nearby before/after. While there’s plenty of adult activities to do at many of these, we’re focusing on the kid-friendly aspects.
In PART 1, we cover the playgrounds in Battery Park City! Stay tuned for the rundown on Tribeca and Financial District next week!
BATTERY PARK CITY
While we don’t have it confirmed with the Mayor, we’re pretty confident that, compared to the rest of the city, Battery Park has the most kid-friendly parks per square inch. No matter your age or interest, Battery Park City has it all (we’re talking playing, bird watching, yoga, swinging, scootering, bike riding, painting, etc.). With 14 parks and plazas maintained by Battery Park City Parks, there’s something for everyone. Just remember that most of the parks are dog free. Your fluff will enjoy walking along the waterside promenade and the Waterfront Plaza, but, if you’re planning on parking it at a park, better to leave the pup at home.
Check out some of our favorites in Battery Park...
Rockefeller Park (North end of Battery Park City, west of River Terrace)
The largest open lawn in Battery Park, it features a large playground, the Parkhouse (which loans games & play equipment for free daily between the months of May and October, and has awesome games like foosball), permanent ping pong tables, basketball courts, and more. Need a break from the chaos of the playground? The Lily Pond, filled with koi and ducks, serves a nice, quiet break spot (just don’t let the kids feed them!). You can find the public restrooms at the northwest corner of the Solaire Building (if you’re desperate and there’s a wait we’ve used the bathroom at the Le Pain Quotidien around the corner). When the gang gets hungry, you’re only a block or two away from Brookfield Place & Hudson Eats food hall, and around the corner from Shake Shack and Pick a Bagel.
Teardrop Park (Between Warren St & Murray St, east of River Terrace and west of North End Ave)
We call this one the “secret garden” of Battery Park. If you can find it (it is hidden between two buildings), you’ll uncover a large children’s slide, sand boxes, water play, a reading area, places to “rock hop,” and more. Restrooms are located at the northwest corner of the Solaire Building. From May through October there’s even programming, with lawn games and creative art projects for school-age kids. We recommend you bring a towel and a change of clothes if you’re heading here, as it can get pretty wet in the summer, and messy with the sand/water combo. When the kids dry off, Le Pain Quotidien is next door, and Shake Shack & Pick A Bagel are across the street for a treat (side note: Shake Shack sells wine with those fries...you’re welcome).
West Thames Park (West St between Albany St & West Thames St)
South Battery Park’s largest children’s playground can be found here, with a ton of climbing options, a basketball court for adults and for kids, water play during the summer months, a sandbox, and more. There’s a green lawn large enough for a soccer game (first come first served) and even a community garden. If you choose to bring your dog along, this is a great option, since across the street is a dog run (south side of West Thames St) where your dog can play leash free! If you need a coffee, pastry or to-go lunch to hold you and the kids over, down the street is Inatteso Cafe. We love the homemade lollipops and the tonno sandwich.
Wagner Park (North of The Battery and across from the Ritz-Carlton)
While it’s not a playground, we love the open lawn for picnics, playgroups and that view! There’s a few options to enjoy, including the public roof deck, the grass, and the free programming offered throughout the summer. If you get hungry, Pier A has indoor and outdoor seating, is family (and dog!) friendly, and offers great snacks & drinks.
The Battery (Battery Place at State St and Whitehall St)
While the recently redone Battery doesn’t have a playground, it does have incredible views of the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, free concerts all summer, and SeaGlass Carousel, an aquatic-themed carousel open every day (we love how it looks at night when the sun sets). We recommend passing on Battery Gardens restaurant (tourist trap!) and grabbing a snack at the Snack Bar or Pier A. You can also bring the dogs here along the promenade.
Stay tuned for next week when we cover Tribeca and Financial District!