discovery toys blog of billie elias
Tips for parents who play with their children or who want stay-at-home income.
Toys for special need, autism, gifted and typical kids.

December 03, 2009

The Play's the thing

When I first moved into the neighborhood, Union Square was riddled with homeless people, addicts and rats. By the time my son was born, the park had been cleaned up and refurbished, thanks to the folks who built nearby Zeckendorf Towers. They pumped a lot of money into the subway station beneath them, and the immediate area, in an effort to make their building desirable. This started the domino effect of the entire neighborhood gradually changing, and the area now sports a Barnes and Noble superstore, Whole Foods, Trader Joe's, a 14-screen multiplex cinema, 3 Starbucks, Cosi, and the super cool ABC Carpet and Home. When we started using the playground inside the park, there were 2 distinct areas: one for toddlers, one for older kids. Woe be the mom who had to have one foot in the east playground and her other foot in the west if she had 2 kids a couple years apart. That all changed today when the Union Square Partnership declared,
"We are pleased to announce that Manhattan's newest showpiece, the 15,000-square-foot Union Square Park playground, opened at 12:00 PM today to the delight of neighborhood kids. The playground consists of three outdoor "rooms" dedicated to children of different age groups, and features state-of-the-art play equipment and beautifully landscaped gardens designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates. Open year-round from 8:00 AM to dusk, the play space is three times the size of the previous bi-furcated play areas, and is accessible at several points along the repaved and landscaped 16th Street transverse. Special thanks to our partners at the Mayor's Office, the City's Department of Parks & Recreation, Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates, Architecture Research Office, Hill International, and Padilla Construction as well as Community Board 5, area elected officials, the project's donors and countless supporters for bringing this exciting new amenity to fruition for our littlest constituents.

In other North End Project news, the transverse, which opened earlier this month, includes new asphalt pavers and crushed bluestone, which allows the stately elm trees along the transverse to thrive while removing the previous trip hazard, and the entrance to the center lawn is now ADA-accessible. Work at the site will now focus on the restroom facility and the Pavilion in order to open these structures as soon as possible. The new restrooms, including the dedicated playground bathroom, are nearing completion as all plumbing and most interior finishes have been installed. Crews are awaiting the fabrication of doors, screens and stainless steel fencing to enclose the structure before opening to the public. Over at the Pavilion, the difficult task of graffiti removal finally bore fruit as the building's limestone facade now looks practically brand new. Plumbing, electric and heating systems are in place, leaving interior finishes to be completed on both the basement and ground floor levels. The bulk of remaining work on the building involves substantial structural repair and restoration work to ceiling beams and three of the exterior columns."

Playtime will never be the same!

1 comment:

geblueyes said...

It is so refreshing to read about this great outdoor play ground.The benefits to society will be too many to count as less children will be bored and get into touble. I wish I had had such a playground to play in when growing up in the Chicago suburbs in the 1950's.

I wonder if some of the toys I offer on my website "All I Can Imagine" would be useful in such a playground as these?

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