Its primary entrance is the central breezeway of the recently restored Heckscher Building, where families can use the restrooms and take a breather from the bustling City streets.
Named after August Heckscher, a real-estate magnate, financier, and philanthropist with a passion for children’s causes, Heckscher Playground was created in 1927 on a 10-acre meadow in the southwest corner of the Park.
Originally known as the “play ground”—a 19th-century term describing an open space for games, sports, and informal play—the meadow was part of a Children’s District designated by Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux in response to criticism that the Park lacked facilities for children and their caregivers. Boys played baseball and girls played cricket in separate areas. In the 1920s, Heckscher Playground opened here as the Park’s first playground by its modern definition. The adjacent ballfields hark back to the earliest days of play in this area.