The Best Playground in NYC: Pier 6

You think this is dangerous...

Pier 6 at the Brooklyn Bridge Park is probably the best playground in New York City, and is the best city project since the High Line!

We finally visited the playground this past weekend. I was reluctant to buy into the hype, as I was sorely disappointed by the playground at Pier 1 (aka the scalding spheres of doom!) But I was blown away by the scale and design of the Pier 6 playground. Nate made a beeline to “slide mountain” and the giant Tee-Pee slide, which reminded me of the rocket jungle gym I used to play at as a kid, (it was later deemed a huge risk to children.) The biggest problem I see with it is kids climbing up, and then afraid to go down the slide, and it is tight quarters for an adult to rescue a tyke. Nate scrambled up to the top like sherpa and after a little trepidation went down the slide, and loved it. It was only after I saw the sign “ages 5-9.” Nate will be 3 in August. There is also a long mountain slide and a crazy rope jungle gym.

now THIS was a dangerous slide from MY childhood!

The”The Water Lab” was next, which is a boulder strewn winding stream with sprinklers, sluice, and an Archimedes’ screw. It really is a small water park with a Myst-like quality. Really beautiful with lots of things for kids to play with, and lots of spots for parent to sit just far enough away not to get wet.

We hit “Sandbox Village” next, which claims “may well be the largest park sandbox in Brooklyn, if not New York City.” I might not be the biggest anymore, as we took a lot of the sand home with us sticking to Nate (I don’t recommend going to the sandbox after the water lab.) We were a little tired to take advantage of “Swing Valley” but it looked awesome as well, (although the name sounds a little too much like a sitcom about ’70’s wifeswapping.)

The response to the Pier 6 PG has been overwhelmingly positive, but that didn’t stop some people from complaining. Some object that the playground is for children only, while New York State Assembly candidate Doug Biviano thinks the playground is dangerous, and wants to round all the corners and edges (but probably just wants any attention for his campaign.)

My Tips:

Go early, as this place gets packed by noon on weekends

Watch the street crossing at Atlantic and the BQE (that crossing can be pretty hairy)

Bring swimwear for the kids (if you don’t let them in the water park they will go ballistic)

Don’t be paranoid about your DS or DD hurting themselves.  A child could just as easily get a skinned knee on the sidewalk running to get in the park as they could on one of the Biv’s ominous boulders.

This playground really is incredible, and with the current economy, I don’t think we’ll see anything like it for years. So enjoy now before they run out of money to keep it up, or some over-protective nervous nellies ruin it.

A Playground Grows in Brooklyn

UPDATE: New Pics on Gothamist!

A number of years ago, my wife and I looked at an apartment on Hicks St. in Brooklyn Heights, which we affectionately refer to as “The Rabbit Hutch,” very cute, and very small. Like most of Brooklyn Heights, it was still too expensive, but the real reason we rejected it was the lack of green space and parks in the area. If you live in a rabbit hutch, your going to have children, and they need parks.

I am now kicking myself like Thumper, as there now there seems to be an abundance of parks in the area. The latest, the yet to open Pier 6 Brooklyn Bridge Park, appears to have a jaw droppingly awesome playground. Brooklyn Paper got a preview of the on going construction, and the playground will include Slide Mountain, Swing Valley, and Sandbox Village. Hopefully they will skip the “Scalding Orbs Town” that they have at the pier one park.

It’s scheduled to open in June is supposed to also have a volleyball court, picnic area, and dining concessions from Ditch Plains Drop In, a Calexico Carne Asada truck, Blue Marble Ice Cream and Pier 66 Maritime, a wine bar, so parents can unwind while they await the paramedics to treat their child’s 3rd degree burns from the red-hot metal domes, and the broken clavicle from the 20 foot tee-pee slide fall.

I kid! The PG looks awesome, and I’m really looking forward to Nate putting it through its paces.

Look at an interactive map of all of  Brooklyn Bridge Park here, or check out the live camera of the construction of the pier one park, it may serve as a guide to the sure to be huge line at Blue Marble.