Rumsey Playfield

Rumsey Playfield is an open sports field that is currently the venue for SummerStage, the outdoor concert and performance series organized by the City Parks Foundation.

While much of Central Park has remained relatively intact since its creation, Rumsey Playfield has undergone many transformations. Located on a hill overlooking the Concert Ground, the site originally featured a restaurant created by Park co-designer Calvert Vaux, which was known as the Casino. (The restaurant did not host any gambling; the name means “little house” in Italian.). In the 1920s, the modest building had become run-down and was replaced by a more elaborate structure in the Art Deco style that became a well-known, glitzy nightclub. Deemed too elitist by Parks Commissioner Robert Moses, it was razed in 1937 and a playground (named for Mary Harriman Rumsey, a well-known philanthropist and social reformer) created in its place. The Mother Goose statue, which marks the playfield entrance, was added at this time. The playground was not well-used and fell into disrepair. In the 1980s, the Central Park Conservancy converted it into a sports field for older children. SummerStage moved from the Naumburg Bandshell to the Rumsey Playfield in 1990.

Turf Maintenance and Care at Rumsey Playfield

Take a look at how Conservancy staff cares for Rumsey Playfield, which is synonymous with the popular arts festival SummerStage.

View with audio description

Also in the area