Reconstruction of the East 110th Street Playground

Photo by Timothy Schenck

We rebuilt the playground to provide an engaging and accessible new play environment that is seamlessly integrated into the park landscape.

Located just north of the Harlem Meer, the East 110th Street Playground was one of the original playgrounds constructed under Parks Commissioner Robert Moses in 1936. NYC Parks renovated the playground in 1981, adding modular wood play equipment and modifying the water feature with the addition of concrete stepping forms.

The primary focus of the Conservancy’s reconstruction project was to enhance the relationship between the playground and the northern Park landscape, and to provide a better play experience both within and outside the playground.

The new playground contains four distinct play areas connected by a winding wooden walkway and bound by a low stone seat wall. A low mesh fence weaves through the plantings around the playground, securing the play environment while blurring its edge, and containing the narrow landscape margin between the playground and the perimeter as a space for landscape play. The result is a playground that is well-integrated into the surrounding park landscape, both visually and functionally.

Our work included:

  • Reconstructing the playground as a series of interconnected spaces, with a dynamic new water spray feature, a multi-form climbing structure integrated with the trees in the playground, multiple tire swings, and “big-kid” strap swings
  • Restoring lawns and establishing plantings that envelope the play spaces and connect the play experience to the surrounding Park
  • Expanding and modernizing the existing infrastructure to support the new water feature and maintenance of the landscape improvements
  • Realigning paths to create an accessible route to the playground

This project is part of the Conservancy’s effort to guide the continued stewardship of Central Park’s 21 playgrounds, as outlined in Plan for Play: A Framework for Rebuilding and Managing Central Park’s Playgrounds.

Playground before and after reconstruction

Also in the area