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Best Outdoor Playground

  • Madison Square Park

    Madison Ave. at 23rd St.

    It doesn’t have the highest-tech equipment or the biggest ball fields—or any ball fields, in fact. But when you combine the free kids’ concerts on Tuesday and Thursday mornings in the summer, free arts-and-crafts workshops, and a nifty fifteen-foot-high waterwheel sprinkler that kids never seem to want to leave, you’ve got a bona fide play-date destination in the beautifully rehabbed Madison Square Park. Centrally located, it’s clean, friendly, and buzzing with activity for kids and adults alike, from grown-up concerts throughout the summer to the annual Big Apple BBQ Block Party. Two-hour-parking meters are an added enticement, as is the playground’s proximity to Shake Shack, Danny Meyer’s high-end hot-dogs-and-custard kiosk that opens this month and stays open until it gets cold again.

From the 2006 Best of New York issue of New York Magazine