Best playground sprinkler (2008)

Rockefeller Park playground in Battery Park City

There are plenty of attractions that draw parents from all over the city to the Rockefeller Park playground in Battery Park City—the age-segregated climbing structures, the pedal-powered carousel, the big-enough-to-avoid-toddler-fights sand tables. But the most welcome feature during the summer is the vast water play area, which offers a dueling squirting hippo and elephant, while a line of dog's heads spout water into a nearby trough. If it seems too lavish a spread for the parks department, that's because it is: The design, by Brooklyn architect Donna Walcavage, was possible only because the Battery Park City Authority is awash in money. By one estimate, if it were its own municipality it would have the sixth-highest revenues in New York State—and it doesn't have to share its booty with the city treasury. Fortunately, the hoi polloi are still welcome to visit, so bring the kiddies and enjoy the vision of what New York would be like if the parks department still had a maintenance budget.


All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >