6 at 68th St.-Hunter College; B, C at 72nd St.
Now a sand-surface athletic field best known as the site of the park's annual SummerStage concert series, Mary Harriman Rumsey Playfield (named after former governor William Averell Harriman's sister) was once the site of nightlife hot spots commissioned by the Parks board for New York elite. Spanning two blocks at the northeast end of the Mall, the site originally housed the Ladies' Refreshment Saloon in the late nineteenth century. Later, the building became the Casino, a restaurant and music venue frequented by politicians such as mayor Jimmy Walker, with performances by the likes of Ethel Merman. The building was then demolished during the thirties to make room for a children's playground, which itself was cleared in 1986 to make room for the playing fields. (A remnant of Rumsey's playground past still stands in the form of a granite statue of Mother Goose and other nursery-rhyme characters, just outside the playfield entrance.) But aside from after-school-program kids scurrying about, the playfield rarely gets as much action as it does during its jam-packed summer concerts, when a stage is set near the entrance for crowds of up to 5,000.