The Sunset Park Playground becomes all but hedonistic after 3 PM; it's not very toddler-friendly with the "big kids" tearing around and getting out their Springtime energy. However, another option is available for a safer play time. Yesterday, while doing errands around the neighborhood, I happened to notice that the gate to the PS 169 mini-playground was open and empty. I remembered that another local parent had shared some information earlier in the season, so we went in and had a grand old time.
At one point, some pint-sized skateboarders came in with their dog. Apparently, they were also avoiding the bigger kids while perfecting their "Casper" moves and slides. I got the distinct feeling that if I hadn't been there, the doggie remains would have remained. Instead, they took the dog out to the grassy area of the park across the street to do her business.
Here's the scoop: if the gate is open, small children with their parents/caregivers are welcome to use the playground. Part of the reason is to avoid vandalism and graffiti (and doggie poo). I suppose they figure that if adults start hanging out there, it will deter those with malicious intentions from committing uglification of the play-space. The custodial staff has had to spend a good amount of time cleaning up various decidedly un-artistic graffiti from walls and equipment. I saw plenty of evidence of clean-up, and unfortunately, lots of newer and really bad graffiti. Pictured are some of the examples. We need more art classes in the public schools!
In all, when available, it makes for a great afternoon option. Most of the playground is shaded later in the day as well. Another bonus. The entrance gate is on 44th, just off of 7th Avenue.