67th Street Playground

Central Park

67th Street Playground was part the Central Park Conservancy’s rehabilitation program, attempting to bring the park back to its early splendor. As Frederick L. Olmsted’s masterpiece, Central Park has been under constant pressure to furnish it with monuments, memorials, and commercial facilities since its inception. However, as the park was designed in 1850 at a time when playgrounds were unheard of, there were no facilities for children. Later in the park’s history, in the 1930’s and 1940’s, the Parks Department created a 6-foot wrought iron fenced area enclosing a slab of asphalt and furnished with 3 or 4 pieces of metal play equipment.

Seeking a solution more compatible with the nature of the park, the Conservancy created a competition among 5 selected firms. MPFP proposed a naturalistic experience that eliminated the iron fence and integrated 3-feet of wire mesh into the planting beds. A rock outcropping became the setting for a 30-foot polished granite slide, and the design introduced planted mounds with stepping columns creating a series of pathways and topography.

The whole environment became the playground and MPFP’s design suggested that play activities can be provided within the context of a natural environment using only materials, forms and symbols to form a larger environment. MPFP’s design still stands after its completion in 1989.