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Best Playground

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Juniper Valley Park
Between Dry Harbor Road and
Lutheran Avenue
Middle Village, Queens

Juniper Valley Park, a heavenly 55-acre enclave surrounded by the manicured micro-lawns of Middle Village, Queens, includes two huge playgrounds, a roller-hockey rink, a running track, seven turf ball fields, one asphalt ball field, ten handball courts, one soccer field, two boccie courts, eight tennis courts, and plenty of room to breathe. "We call it the Central Park of Queens," says borough commish Richard Murphy. Central Park, he might add, without the crowds. Something of a local secret, the playround is in prime condition, parking is always available, and there's never a wait for a swing. With lush rolling hills -- the burial ground for the family that farmed these acres a century ago still stands on the park's north side -- it's a pretty place for a weekend getaway. By car, take the L.I.E. to the Woodhaven Boulevard Exit, turn right on Woodhaven, and hang a right on Dry Harbor Road, which takes you to the park. Or take the G or R train to Woodhaven, and the Q29 bus to the park.

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