Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Ramp: upscale playground and athletic area in the shadow of Father Judge HS

Playground: Ramp
Location: Solly Ave. (at Rowland)
Date visited: 5/12/13

  • bigger playset: tall straight and spiral slides (metal), fireman's pole, solid bridge, lots of climbing, arched monkey bars, tall and short hanging bars
  • small playset: low curved and tall wavy (mogul) slides (plastic), solid bridge, climbing, tic-tac-toe galore
  • six strap and two bucket slides
Ages: 1.5-11
Surface: rubbery/blacktop
Shade(0-3): 1
Water: Y (single pole)
Other: fancy baseball (little league, and used by Father Judge HS), basketball, rec center with covered area, hockey court, extra grassy areas
Access: M-F 1-9 PM, Sa Su 9 AM-5 PM

Impressions: Busy and cheerful playground surrounded by a range of well-maintained athletic space.  Decently designed for a range of ages (although no particular novelties) and shaded grass areas invite a picnic
Overall rating: 8

Pelbano: NE playground not quite up to the level of its partner rec center

Playground: Pelbano
Location: Bustleton Ave. (at Stanwood)
Date visited: 5/12/13

  • big playset: high wavy plastic slide, low double straight plastic slide, bus wheels, monkey bar spinners, miscellaneous climbing, broken game underneath, broken swing toy (?)
  • small playset: five plastic slides (two straight, two curved, one bumpy)
  • two strap swings, two bucket swings  
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: Y (single sprayer)
Other: rec center (basketball inside), basketball court, baseball field, extra grass, paved walks for skating, etc., extra blacktop, tennis courts (no nets)

Impressions: Large and well-kept (or new) rec center and extensive athletic space is appealing, but the play equipment offers little to challenge or even interest kids over about 3.  A couple broken pieces, in conjunction with missing basketball and tennis nets could indicate neglect or just that things weren't yet brought online for the season when visited in mid-May.  Popularity of strap swings indicates another pair would be justified.
Overall rating: 6

Monday, June 17, 2013

Jerome Brown playground: bounty of fun in Nicetown

Playground: Jerome Brown playground
Location: 20th and Ontario
Date visited: 3/17/13

  • low playset: solid meandering bridge, low metal slide, low-angle climbing wall, metal rope net for climbing
  • high playset: vertical climbing wall (2 types), circle of monkey bars, zip lines, single and double metal slides
  • four strap and two bucket swings
  • free-standing modern bar teeter-totter (half-broken)
  • free-standing set of 3 fireman's poles w/arched ladders
Ages: 1.5-11
Surface: rubbery
Shade(0-3): 2
Water: N
Other: basketball court, grassy hill, extra blacktop, square and regular picnic tables, colorful decorated rec center, Septa and Amtrak trains run right next
Access: 6 AM-10 PM

Impressions: Recently renovated playground makes good use of a small space with a variety of challenges for all ages.  Looks likely to be shady and cool in summer, nice neighborhood setting, and the occasional passing train is fun to watch
Overall rating: 8 (maybe 9?)

Panati: appealing reclamation project in need of another round of reclaiming

Playground: Panati Playground
Location: 22nd and Clearfield
Date visited: 3/17/13

  • low playset with two plastic slides (straight and curved)
  • four bucket swings
  • curved ladder/climbing structure
  • wall to walk on
Ages: 1-3
Surface: rubbery/blacktop
Shade(0-3): 0-1
Water: N
Other: rec center, basketball court, communal garden plots

Impressions: This space abutting the hulk of an old manufacturing plant has been lovingly reclaimed by the community and is awash in nice murals and colorful benches, bricks, and other elements.  However, there are signs of neglect and disrepair, including large empty spaces where clearly there once was play equipment; what remains is of interest to only the smallest kids (0-3).  Perhaps when more of the industrial spaces are reclaimed/renovated this play space will get some new equipment and a little love.
Overall rating: 5 (for littles only)

Shuler: playground and athletic fields on the western edge of North Philly

Playground: Shuler Playground
Location: 27th btw. Clearwater and Indiana (just S of Allegheny Ave.)
Date visited: 3/17/13

  • 2 low space pods separated/joined by path/bridge
  • low playset with straight metal and curved plastic slides and extra climbing
  • 2 pelican hobby horses
  • 4 bucket swings
  • higher playset with 2 straight metal slides, solid bridge, miscellaneous climbing, fireman's pole
Ages: 1-8
Surface: rubbery/blacktop
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: hopscotch, basketball, baseball, swimming pool, soccer/football field (?), recreation center
Access: 6 AM-10 PM

Impressions: Decent play equipment in decent shape with additional playspace, but nothing to draw visitors from outside the neighborhood (and seems like it would be hot on a sunny summer day).  Might or might not get traffic from the school across the street.
Overall rating: 7

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Amosland Park: an extensive playground just outside SW Philly

Playground: Amosland Park
Location: E. Amosland Rd. (between Winona and Cleveland, drive into park), in Norwood PA (just SW of SW Philadelphia)
Date visited: 4/21/13

  • Tall playset: 2 climbing walls, "iceberg" climbing steps, three bumpy/wavy slides and three spiral slides (all plastic), a solid bridge, and two curvy slides
  • Lower playset: four plastic slides (1 low, 2 taller straight, 1 tall wavy), shop window, lots of things under (to crank, etc.)
  • Old-fashioned merry-go-round
  • two bucket and six strap swings (high)
Ages: 1-11
Surface: wood chips
Shade(0-3): 0
Water: N
Other: picnic tables, baseball and soccer fields, lots of grass
Access: not gated, so presumably dawn to dusk

Impressions: A nice suburban recreation park, with tons of grassy fields surrounded by low houses and woods.  Lots of cheery kids of all ages on the sunny spring day of our visit.  Looks like the small building might offer concessions on hot days or during sporting events.  Shadeless, but nice for a spring or fall outing, maybe with a picnic.

Overall rating: 8

A mini-playground nestled between rowhouses in Northern Liberties

Playground: nook on Lawrence St.
Location: 856 Lawrence St. (between Brown St. and Poplar St.)
Date visited: 4/27/13

Equipment: one playset with platforms connected by two bridges, two small slides, four ladders (including a wide rope ladder), high hanging bar, plus a shop counter and walk-through hole.

Ages: 2-6
Surface: rubbery carpet over almost whole space
Shade(0-3): 1 (shadow of neighboring rowhouse)
Water: N
Other: Basketball 1/2-court, benches
Access: has a closable gate, no posted hours (was open for 11 AM Saturday visit)

Impressions: Cute small space carved out from a double-wide lot between rowhouses.    Well-maintained neighborhood space; equipment is not extensive, but is in good shape, and the ambiance is particularly nice, with a mix of isolated trees, a flowerbed, and a small wooded area.  Bonus: it's a perfect pairing with Honey's Sit 'n' Eat (just a couple blocks away!)
Overall rating: 7 (hard to compare to others; aesthetically appealing but not a full-scale playground like most of the rest)