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Best Playground

  • Donald and Barbara Zucker Natural Exploration Area

    Nellie’s Lawn in Prospect Park, nr. East Dr.

    Alternatives to traditional jungle gyms are slowly cropping up across the city. But none is as fantastical as this Prospect Park oasis, which opened in October on the lawn that Olm­sted and Vaux originally dubbed the Children’s Playground in 1868. Today, all of the “equipment”—structures created from trunks and branches—has been sourced from trees that fell during Hurricane Sandy. Toddlers play hide-and-seek in hollowed-out stumps, while older kids ­balance on long logs and count the rings. Landscape architect Christian Zimmerman designed the structures (he’s also responsible for Lakeside), but Mother ­Nature twisted the wood into haunting shapes.

From the 2014 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine