By Michelle Gillan Larkin
It’s not often that I’m dazzled by a playground. I’ve visited dozens in the past six years since my little guy made his entrance into this world, and although some are better than others, after a while, they all look the same. At least, that’s what I was thinking as we pulled up to the relatively new Lt. Roy McLaughlin Park in Yonkers. I realized pretty quickly that I’d have to adjust my thought pattern on this one.
While this fully gated, 10,000-square-foot mecca of play contains all of the usual swings, slides and stuff to climb, it also has the most eye-catching and wildly unique equipment I’ve ever seen. Plus, the fact that all of it sits atop spongy, rubber tiles just adds to the allure.
For starters, the jungle gyms (big, bigger and biggest) are vibrantly colorful and equipped with bridges, slides, monkey bars and these web-like rope ladders — rope walls, really — that just beg to be scaled. There are also rock walls attached to the structures, and nifty little nooks that are used for hide and seek, or as a hideout from the frenzy of happy activity that abounds. Steps away is a rarely seen seesaw, funky little bowls for sitting and spinning, and a circular rotating contraption that attracts kids like ants to a picnic.
But the piece de resistance is something that must’ve been dreamed up by an engineer who is part acrobat, part spider. It’s this dome-shaped maze of ropes that is as challenging as it is exciting. It’s not for the very young or faint of heart, as it extends upwards quite high, but it’s manageable for a wiry six-year old with someone (uh, me) giving him a boost at every rung. The eight and older set seem to tackle it just fine solo, while their parents sit back at one of the three umbrella-covered picnic tables.
Last time I judge a playground before I see it. And last time I visit this one without a climbing harness.
Lt. Roy McLaughlin Park, 375 Kneeland Avenue, Yonkers