- Tompkins Square Park
Ave. A and 9th St.
Union Square’s new playground has the high-tech sound tubes and high-altitude climbing dome, but it’s turned out to be frequently packed with kids, a victim of its own success. A more intimate but no less thrilling play area lies several blocks south and east in Tompkins Square Park. Though it received a splashy $1.5 million face-lift this past August, the East Village’s prime green space keeps things appropriately scruffy. Rope bridges and twisty ladders hone kids’ motor skills and stoke bravery, while one of the slides has a sharp twist near the bottom for extra olé! Third-graders guide toddlers up the rock-climbing wall, dads negotiate tire-swing sharing among strangers, and neighborhood veterans show kids how to use a cleaned-up former “pee-pee tree” as a hide-and-seek anchor.