Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Evelyn's Playground #1 (Union Square)

Take note of the ladder steps, as NYCMOM points out"My kid loves the slide but I think a less tough kid could get hurt in the scrambling of the steps..."

If you live in New York City and are a frequent park hopper, chances are you've heard of the new playground in Union Square Park.  What an adventureland!  This playground has it all, plus about a dozen things you didn't even know existed.  As Lexi likes to say: "Hello?!" a giant silver dome?!  Annie was a little frightened of it at first, but once I showed her how to take off her shoes and use the padding of her foot to scurry up she was sold.  The dome is a lot of fun I just hate to let the girls take off their shoes in a public space, even if it is for the greater good of exploring.  The slides were insanely steep which is both refreshing and a little nerve-wrecking.  Writing this I'm starting to see a pattern:  The playground equipment is both exciting and terrifying.  This is a good thing, right?  Isn't figuring out how it works and then mastering it one of the best part of playgrounds ?  I can't tell you how proud I was when Annie scrunched her eyes shut, hugged the fire pole, and let her feet leave the jungle gym platform for the first time.  Well, Evelyn's Playground brings that feeling back for even the oldest of park hoppers.  My one and only gripe-- Next-to-zero shade.    

• Awesome, State-of-the-Art Equipment 

Almost No Shade • Hard-Rubber tiles are curling and easy to trip over

What It's Got
• Twirly Bar • Large Dome • 2 Climbing Ropes • 3 Leaning Bars • 3 Slides • Rotating Disc • Spinning Bar • "Telephone" Cones • Trashcans (Not Enough) • Hard-Rubber Tile Ground (old and curling at the edges, easy to trip) 

What Parents/Nannies Should Know
 2 Entrances, one to the other playground • Bathroom Inside Gates • Lots of stairs at the entrance (go to playground #2 for the handicap entrance) • Plenty of ledge seating, steps • Almost no shade • Lots of Big Kids • Barnes and Noble also has a bathroom available to people with kids in the children's section (Thanks CONULY for the tip!)

Union Square Greenmarket (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday) • Whole Foods • Cafe Medina (UES Mom says it has the best soup, plus lots of other kid friendly things.  Thanks UES MOM!) 
Ratings: (Out of 5)


"I like the really fast saucer and the things to talk to each other."

Annie:  X 28
" I like those scary slides 'cause you go down down down very scary like."

Notice the covered slide.  To use it, kids must climb up the rocks to the right.


  1. I want to add a fairly nearby recommendation for the best soup place in NYC, Cafe Medina on 17th St. between 5th and Broadway. Seriously, the BEST soup. The pumpkin corn bisque is amazing, and lots of other things kids will like. Love your blog!

  2. You should also note that the B&N has a bathroom that's only accessible to people with children, in the children's department. I know the bathroom at the Union Square playground is really small, and if the park is crowded it's good to know another option.

  3. I thought the overwhelming sun and heat generated on the dome made it impossible for my girls to play. But I was there when it was I'm the 90's last year. No shade and no real seating made it a no go for me personally! The kids did love it though! (they made due on the dome with towels) haha

  4. Ahhh I see seating... It must have been packed when I was there sat squished under a tree! Lol

  5. Thank you UES Mom and Conuly, I'm adding those suggestions to the review right now! I can't wait to try out Cafe Medina! How much fun is it to eat soup with kids? I know it's bad manners, but sometimes I love to "let loose" and slurp my soup! The girls think it's hilarious!
    Conuly- I can't believe I failed to mention Barnes & Nobles! Not only is it good for the sneaky bathroom, but when for when you need a break from the summer sun or when it starts to rain a good reading section is gold!
    Tiggy- You're totally right about the unbearable heat. Not only does it make it difficult for the kids to play, it makes it difficult for me to be there for long hours. Especially because NONE of the seating is shaded. Maybe I should've given this park a three, but I don't know, I guess I'm a sucker for the whole "wow" factor. :)

  6. My kid loves the slide but I think a less tough kid could get hurt in the scrambling of the steps...

    If you want to check out another great slide of that type, go to Billy Johnson Playground in Central Park (near the zoo). Bring a piece of cardboard (for under the bottom of the real thrill seekers.)

  7. NYCMom--YES you are right, I totally forgot to mention the ladder steps! What a difference they make, right? Thanks for pointing that out! We've been to the Billy Johnson Playground, I just haven't posted the review yet so make sure to look for it!

  8. If it's books you're after, the Strand is only a block away, of course. They have $1 used kids books outside and $2 advanced reader copy kids books inside. (No, I don't spend my entire pay there monthly, why do you ask?)

    Word of warning to anybody planning to visit this playground and then the movies: those two theaters are infested with bedbugs. Of course, which theaters aren't, these days? (Seriously, anybody planning to catch a flick while in the city, if you live here you surely know it but if you're visiting you might not - check the theater on google first, because if it has bedbugs people will have posted about it SOMEwhere.)

  9. It is against the rules of nyc parks to take off your shoes in the park. Read the sign on the fence. Why would you encourage that? Also, parents neglect their children in this park all the time,.nannies also. Please keep.your children in your view. Make sure they arent climbing inside the garden, scaling the walls,.swinging from trees or going to fast on the spinning wheel. It is like a zoo there.

  10. My advice to All parents that have nannies bringing their kids to Union Square Park - Evelyn's Playground... Send a SPY to see what is going on! Your children need supervision. Why is a toddler walking around or climbing cement steps alone? Why are these kids roaming the entire park alone without anyone watching them. There is the helicopter nany or parent hovering over the child and there is the 100% neglectful nanny or parent that sit and chat and these BABIES - 2 year olds to 4 year olds are left to fend for themselves. Insane! Huge Teenagers are attracted to the saucer, spinning disk and that dome, they hop over fences and enter the park, they enter through front gates and hop on the saucer with your unsupervised child.and spin so fast kids fling off all day. You parents and nannies sit on steps and benches and read books. You have a false sense of security because of the soft flooring. You think guarding the gates so kids wont escape is enough. Why arent you watching your kids,.supervising them? Why are these kids running through gardens, scaling walls, bullying, snatching toys.... And for god's sake, why are your children naked, or bare feet, that is a health risk.and also IT IS UNIN SQUARE, there are creeps everywhere... No it is not okay to let a 3 year old run around naked. READ the si gn on fence, NO BARE FEET... Get proper.sneakers with grips to climb dome, where flip flops for water sprinkler. Watch your kids on that spinning disk, they can fall off and get hurt. Watch your children!!!