By Michelle Gillan Larkin, a writer and mom who lives in Northern Westchester
If you’re anything like my five-year-old son and me, you have a favorite neighborhood playground. It’s that wonderful place where you run, climb, swing and smile. And it’s terribly boring after the second visit in the same week. So you playground hop, hoping for the excitement and joy of opening a new present. It works! Until the novelty wears off … again.
Well, don’t sulk in the sandbox, we can help! Every other week during the summer and into the fall, we’ll be looking at a different playground that we think is worthy of your time and energy. Some may have outstanding jungle gyms, others breathtaking views or cooling shade. One thing is for certain: Each is guaranteed to make you and your playground pals happy — at least once, probably twice.
First up: Riverfront Green Park in Peekskill
There is a lot to love about this park, but the one thing that stands out about it is how it’s a great place to reconnect with school friends over the summer — think play date en masse. Aside from the sprawling jungle gym and fresh, Hudson River breezes, this lush and spacious park boasts a large gazebo that houses about a dozen picnic tables and several grills.
Grilling at the playground may be a bit ambitious for some, but it’s a breeze to pack lunch and invite a bunch of buddies to share in the picnic, right? There’s room for the whole class, and what a bonus that everyone gets a shady break from the hot summer sun.
The gazebo is skipping distance to the jungle gym—which can really only be described as sprawling—giving kids an opportunity to work up a really good appetite.
And even on an extra-hot day you’ll be a wee bit cooler, thanks to the wind off the waters of the Hudson River. Plus, the view of the mountains across the way is enough to make you forget you’ve got dinner to prepare and baths to run.
It doesn’t hurt that there are boys and girls bathrooms not far from the play and picnic area, and that the train goes right by the park. And just outside, past the mechanical railroad crossing gates (fascinating to my little engineer), is the newly opened Taco Dive Bar, in case the play date runneth over. There’s also the new Hudson Creamery, a great place for rewarding taking turns on the slide.
Check back in with us in two weeks, when we’ll be profiling a playground in Pleasantville that’s perfect for early risers.