Sunday, October 31, 2010

A mix of unusual offerings: Malcolm X Park

Playground: Malcolm X Park
Location: between Pine & Larchwood, 51st & 52nd
Date visited: 10/31/10

Equipment: Several structures in two neighboring zones: One zone combines the equipment designed for smaller kids (marked 2-5) with a subzone of individual challenging pieces aimed at a range of ages; the second zone is a large playset intended for older kids (marked 5-12).
  • The small kid playset has two metal slides and some low ladders. There are also two trucks made of metal and wood, that an be attempted by even pretty small kids. Also right here are two "spaceship" pieces that offer various ways to enter (under, through a hole, etc.) and some dashboard-looking gizmos for pretend play. There's also a purple gizmo that promises some sort of auditory interaction, but it's either broken or inscrutible.

    The more adventure-seeming subzone here has a very low balance beam enclosed by rails (although tots will need overhead hands to attempt it) and a similar piece where the walking is on the suspension chains themselves (also inches from the ground). For older kids, there's a wavy narrow "balance beam" that's a couple of feet off the ground (no rails), a climbing net (metal, partly broken) to a fireman's pole, a short stretch of monkey bar rings, a zip line ring, and a set of angled climbing rails that offer a challenge for the more adventurous. There's also a sort of climbing wall here (with footholes rather than knobs), and a little gazebo-covered table with stools around it (several missing their seats).

  • The larger playset has a range of challenging climbing options, 4 metal slides (2 straight, 1 double, 1 spiral), and solid bridges. Also connected is another long zip line ring, some climbing walls, and a balance/bounce platform (I dunno how to describe this, but it was fun). Nearby is a pair of plastic basketball hoops at different heights in the center of a small cement area.
material: modern resin and metal, or as marked; scale: substantial play space inside a full-block park
Ages: 1-12
Surface: rubbery around equipment, mostly grass elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: N
Other: picnic table, small covered area (bandstand?), tiny muraled building (shed? rec. center?), grassy park

Access: open park (dawn to dusk?)
Impressions: Wonderfully colorful and creative playground with challenges for all ages, in a grassy park full of mature trees. Some graffitti and signs of abuse, but not yet enough to interfere with the wealth of fun here. Rating docked for lack of swings, which can be critical for babies, but otherwise pretty neat, and worth a trip from other parts of town. Definitely stuff here we've never seen anywhere else, especially for families with kids of varied ages.
Also note: coffee shop and pizza place both across the street widen the options for an outing here.
Overall rating: 9

1 comment:

  1. You forgot to mention the drug dealers, drunks, and pot smokers who inhabit the park more or less 24 hours a day.