Audubon Playground, New York, New York

Ornithologist, naturalist and painter John James Audubon made his last home in this Washington Heights neighborhood.  Named after him, this playground serves two schools and the surrounding community.  QRP’s redesign will celebrate Audubon with nature-themed play, bird-friendly plantings and avian references.

A ten-foot tall treehouse will invite children to clamber up and slide back down.   Alongside more traditional swings,  naturalistic play equipment like boulders and logs will challenge children to climb, slide, balance and learn.   ADA-accessible ramps and activities will accommodate all abilities.

In the new water play area, where a bridge spans a planted, natural corridor, jets will refresh children in the hot months.  As requested by the community, an ADA-compliant synthetic turf field and misting post will encourage active sports year-round, as will the junior size basketball court.

Copious new plantings, including serviceberry and sparkleberry, bayberry, grasses and perennials have been selected to feed and shelter New York City birds, and to provide color in winter. A custom-designed birdhouse replicates Audubon’s home, “Minniesland”.

At the new main entrance on Audubon Avenue, a shaded seating area will offer the game tables that are so popular in this neighborhood.  Granite pavers and concrete will replace the existing asphalt, and all entrances, paths and park features will be fully accessible. The reconstruction of Audubon Playground is funded by the NYC Community Parks Initiative, a mayoral program to invest in parks in densely populated, low income communities. Upon completion, it will be a safe, active, and playful space with something to offer everyone in the community.


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