A Year In New York

A Daily Bite of the Big Apple

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Day 73: Pavement Play

September 8th · No Comments

One thing I’m already missing about summer is the beehive of activity that is the Manhattan playground. On the West Coast, the children are tiny figures running around on the other side of a giant lawn or blacktop, but here the kiddos are yelling and jumping right in your face.

Clearly the designers lavished these pocket playgrounds with TLC.  St. Catherine’s at East 68th and 1st Avenue is nicer than most, but still typical: In about half an acre there’s a jumbo and a mini jungle gym, swings, and two concrete elephants sprinkling water from their trunks. All that is surrounded by a ring of fifteen picnic tables and then a ring of picnic benches in wrought iron, and finally a hedge of tough, childproof bushes.

“You can’t stand here,” this little girl told me as I stood taking it all in. “This is my space.” Territorialism starts young in these parts.

Parents with strollers stream in from every direction. The older kids play tag on the walkway, their jeans unblemished with grass stains because there is no grass.

It’s not an oasis exactly – too much screaming for that – but it is the only place in the city you can see so many people having an unabashedly good time.

Tags: Sights & Scenes · Why I Love This Town

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