Saturday, August 24, 2013

A little playspace between rowhouses and industrial stretches in Brewerytown

Playground: Unnamed
Location: Jefferson at 30th
Date visited: 7/27/13

Equipment: Two zones, close together but fenced:
  • The playset is large and meandering, which is fun in itself. It includes two high slides (straight and spiral) and one lower (curved), all metal; a solid bridge; crawl-through hoops and store window underneath (+ small bench). There is also a set of "stepping stone stools" here.
  • The second "room" of the playspace has swings: 4 strap and 2 bucket. This also opens onto a lot of extra grassy area, including a great hill for rolling or running down.
material: modern resin/metal; space: small
Ages: 1-10
Surface: rubbery
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: nice basketball courts, baseball diamond
Access: not marked (dawn to dusk?)

Impressions: A little corner space nicely divided up into quadrants for play and sports. Beter-than-average playset, given the space, but the playground could use some love, especially on the trash-containment and graffitti-fighting fronts. (Lack of signage may result from this being a private undertaking -- maybe an Eagles project? -- so not under city oversight.) All-metal slides were hot on a sunny day, but the grassy hillside is very enticing!
Overall rating: 6

A second visit: A new face for Francisville playground

Playground: Francisville Rec. Center playground
Location: Wiley, close to 19th and Brown (rec space fills most of block) -- there are many entrance gates
Date visited: 7/27/13
Equipment: Three distinguishable zones:
  1. One structure here has lower platforms, two plastic slides (one curved and one bumpy), one tall metal slide, and misc. climbing including a rope net. There's also a medium-sized playset with two metal slides (one wide and one narrow, both straight), climbing, and a shop window and bench underneath. There are two bucket and four strap swings nearby.
  2. There's an updated water zone with a cute central palm tree and a ring of pavement sprayers. (We didn't see this in action.)
  3. This zone has a lone playset with one metal slide (left from before the update?) and a lot of fun games painted on the ground (incl. hopscotch and a maze race) and a low brick wall.
material: modern resin/metal; scale: large
Ages: 1-8ish
Surface: colorful rubbery around equipment; blacktop elsewhere
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: Y
Other: basketball, playing fields, colorfully painted rec building, pool
Access: 9:00AM-10:30PM (summer); 2:00pm-10:30pm (winter)

Impressions: We went back to this playground (review from 2009 here) after a tip that it had had a facelift. It is indeed more colorful and inviting, and equipment is fresh and functional (as reflected in our improved rating). However, there is still nothing to challenge older kids (e.g., monkey bars or spinners) or really make this a top draw for those from other parts of town. Still, nice trees could shade a picnic for a longer day, and with both a sprayground and a pool, this playground worth considering for hot summer afternoons.
Overall rating: 7-8

A playspace in the gap between Temple and Girard colleges: M. L. King Rec Center

Playground: King playground
Location: On Cecil B. Moore Ave between 21st and 22nd
Date visited: 7/27/13

Equipment: One zone with several components:
  • A tall playset with two tall plastic slides (bumpy and spiral), a jointed bridge, etc. There are 4 strap swings nearby.
  • A smaller playset with a straight metal and a curved plastic slide, solid bridge, tic tac toe animals, etc. There are two bucket swings nearby.
  • A water zone = a cement circle with a pole that mists in all directions.
  • Not official play equipment, but inviting: a long series of low walls to walk along.
material: modern resin + metal; scale of space: med/large
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery/blacktop
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: Y
Other: picnic tables (one missing its top), basketball, another fenced cement area (handball? hockey?), ball fields (baseball and football), swimming pool, extra grass, large rec center (partially serving as an adult/seniors building)
Access: dawn to dusk?

Impressions: Perfectly adequate equipment for neighborhood play, but nothing to go out of your way for (unless you plan to swim). Nice grassy fields for a ball or frisbee break.
Overall rating: 6