Monday, July 25, 2011

Playground Tour Stop #10: Harmony Playground

The tenth stop on our playground tour is the largest and likely the most popular playground in Prospect Park. Harmony Playground is located just inside the park on Prospect Park West between 9th and 11th streets in Park Slope. The spaciousness of the playground gives it a very open feel and being tucked into the park (albeit just barely) adds to the sense of being a bit removed from the bustle of city life... although the playground can get quite crowded at times.

Entering from the 9th St side, you'll find the smaller of the two play structures straight ahead. A double slide, curved climbing ladder, tunnel, small bridge, steering wheels and a shorter single side are all attractions here. There is also an even smaller structure behind this for the playground newbies to try out their first climbing and sliding experiences on these mini versions.

To the right of the smaller structure is a set of baby swings, tucked behind a fence on the north perimeter of the playground.

Between the smaller and larger structures lies a good-size sand pit, a large "big kid" swing area, sprinklers and music "tubes" which children can lift up and let go of to create various tones.

The larger structure spans quite a big area and includes long ramps, bridges, a fireman's pole, tunnels, double, single and spiral slides. curved climbing ladders, chain climbing structures, two different types of monkey bars, a swinging balance beam and steering wheels.

Despite being in a park with lots of trees, Harmony Playground tends to be quite sunny, excepting a few benches along the parks building which is the eastern perimeter of the playground.

I have to say Harmony is actually one of my favorite playgrounds... it has great equipment, it's in the park, it's convenient to Park Slope... and I just like the feel of it for whatever reason. I often prefer quieter, less busy locations but this is one exception. If I'm willing to brave the nearly always present school groups hogging up the place it must be something slightly great. A+

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Playground Tour Stop #9: Mount Prospect Park Playground

The ninth stop on our playground tour is the Mount Prospect Park playground. Aptly named, the playground is situated at the top the large hill between the library and the Botanic Garden on Eastern Parkway (although it isn't actually in Prospect Park, so perhaps the name is only partially fitting).


If you have a stroller, you'll need to use the entrance closer to the Botanic Garden, as the one closer to the library is only steps. Both walkways are steep, but being up and away from the street is a nice reward once you reach the top.

The playground is surrounded by trees and behind it is an open park/grassy area. There are plenty of benches along the perimeter as well as picnic tables in the center of the playground. Despite the trees along the edges though, most of the equipment is mostly in the sun and it can get quite hot at times.

This playground, like many others, is divided into two sides - one for younger children and one for the older ones. However, both of these structures are a bit more "big kid". There are some shorter steps and slides on the one side but I would by no means call it a "toddler" playground (although many toddlers do fine on it... it's just not as simple/safe as some of the others we have visited). The equipment is all painted metal and a bit on the older side.

Both sides have a series of steps and ramps, slides, bridges and some unique climbing structures. The larger side also has monkey bars, a fireman's pole and a tire swing. There is a set of baby swings along the south perimeter which are a bit more shaded than the rest of the playground. A series of sprinklers separate the two sides, along with the picnic tables.

There are restrooms at the front entrance to the playground.

The children here tend to be a little older and are sometimes a bit more rowdy and unattended than most would prefer. I feel generally safe here with 3 year olds but I can't say that I haven't heard some choice language coming from some of the children at times or what can feel a bit more like loitering than "playing".

I feel like this playground is "alright" but it's not one that I would go out of my way for by any means. If you live in the neighborhood or are at the library or Botanic Garden though, check it out. Personally, we'll come here when it's convenient or just for a change from Underhill, but if you are looking for the "better" playground in the area, Underhill is definitely the way to go.

I'm giving Mount Prospect Park Playground a B- ... what do you think?