Rockefeller Park NYC
There are your local neighborhood playgrounds and parks big and small, of course, the places you go to every day/weekend because they're fine and familiar and, you know… they're right there. But in a town as great and big and generous as New York City, there are also destination parks and playgrounds, special spots with enough going on to make it worth packing up the whole crew and turning a trip to the playground into a NYC daycation. Special spots, for instance, like Rockefeller Park.
Located on the north end of Battery Park City in Manhattan, right on the water, and an easy walk from any subway that stops at Chambers Street (or anywhere near there, really; the island is pretty narrow in that part of town), Rockefeller Park NYC is one of those rare "something-for-everyone" places.
There's the wide, sunny, well-maintained (dog-free) lawn with a beautiful view up the Hudson at Rockefeller Park NYC, perfect for relaxing and picnicking and, if you can get away with it, napping. On weekends the Parks Department opens its field house and sets up ping-pong and fooseball tables out front. You can also checkout board games, balls and jump ropes here. And because there's usually a nice breeze blowing off the river, most days at Rockefeller Park in New York City are excellent for kite-flying.
There's the amazing Tom Otterness sculpture garden, complete with fountain and plenty of tables and benches, featuring the artist's sprawling and typically whimsical (with, also typically, a deeper, more serious message) piece, The Real World. The I-Spy opportunities at Rockefeller Park NYC here–find the telephone! the monkey! fifteen footprints!–are pretty much endless.
Rockefeller Park is also home to a terrific playground, which still feels new and exciting even after almost 20 years. The peddle-propelled carousel is always a big hit, as are the many different of climbing and running and jumping equipment for all different ages. Sprinklers, swings and sand round out the fun at Rockefeller Park NYC. And for older siblings, the ball courts are right next door.
A must-visit while you're here is Teardrop Park, right across the "street" from Rockefeller Park, a true hidden New York City gem with a grass bowl (wiffle ball alert!), shady benches, and one of the coolest, most daring-est slides in all of New York City.
Also across the street from Rockefeller Park is the excellent Irish Hunger Memorial NYC, a simple, immersive structure that deftly combines the ruins of an authentic Irish cottage from the 19th century; a sloping, rooftop garden wild with native Irish plantings (seriously: this place feels like no where else in town); and a thoroughly contemporary exterior with backlit quotes about the ravages of hunger, then and now.
Rockefeller Park NYC Details
Rockefeller Park is located at the north end of Battery Park City in Manhattan, with the main entrance at River Terrace and Warren Streets. The park is open daily from 6:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. For more information, please see the Battery Park City Parks Conservancy website.
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