looseparts2While controversy swirls about a Muslim community center and downtown New York City slowly rebuilds, a new playground in the touristy South Street Seaport area generates squeals of delight.

The Imagination Playground at Burling Slip, next to the South Street Seaport museum opened in July, 2010. It is the first permanent playground developed by architect David Rockwell and his firm, Rockwell Group, and KaBOOM!

The playground is unlike any other. Its centerpiece is a collection of ‘loose parts’, semi rigid foam pieces that kids can use to build different structures. There are also shovels, brooms and fabric that can be incorporated into the play, and the open-ended nature of the playground encourages cooperation. A few more traditional elements, like a sand pit, a slide and a rope climbing area, can get kids started.

Since the playground is near the seaport, there is water flowing through part of the playground in warm months. And ‘play associates,’ paid facilitators, make suggestions and keep on eye on unruly behavior.

The playground is near the Fulton St/Broadway-Nassau Station of the 2, 3, 4, A, C, J and Z trains.

climbing2Some of the same loose parts at the Imagination Playground will be used at The Ultimate Block Party in Central Park, October 3. This free family event will also have a drumming circle, LEGOs, and story telling.

The Block Party will be at the Naumburg Bandshell (enter at 72nd St. & 5th Ave.) from 11am – 5pm.