Activities & Resources
Tompkins Square Park551in New York, NY 10009
about Tompkins Square Park:
No shortage of playgrounds here: there are three large ones, all of which are clean with nice, fairly new and well maintained equipment. The largest and most popular runs along the western edge of the park from 8th Street to 9th Street. There are three climbing/sliding areas for older children and one for babies and toddlers, plus swings (four baby swings; two for older kids; three tire swings). All of these areas are built on rubberized surfaces for safety. Most of the area is shady and there are plenty of benches for grownups not inclined to play. There's a sprinkler to frolic in during warmer months, and a water fountain that works most of the time.
There are two similar but smaller playgrounds toward the east end of the park, although these are sometimes locked.
Along the shady north side of the park is the Slocum Memorial Fountain, which is a terrific sprinkler area for kids of all ages. It's a godsend on those scorching summer-in-the-city days. Due east is a small public pool open daily from July 4 until Labor Day from 11:30am to 6:30pm. Open to children ages six to 14, the minimum height for swimmers is 3'8"; otherwise an adult must accompany them. The pool is just three feet deep all around, making it ideal for younger children. There's a lifeguard on duty.
For budding point guards and power forwards, there are several places to play basketball: near the northeast corner are two large courts and three half-courts with 8' nets (non-regulation but great for developing players!); at the northwest corner there are four regulation size nets.
At the NE corner of the park are two handball courts. At the NW corner is a large open asphalt playground with a backstop where baseball and softball can be played and pitching perfected.
There are a total of 19 game tables for chess and checkers, 16 along the south edge of the park and three near the northeast corner. You'll need to bring your own game pieces.
There's a huge dog run at the center of the park. Dogs are free to play on its wood chip surface as long as they're not on a leash. Only dogs and their owners are allowed in, but it's fun to watch from outside. There's a large carved wood dog bone at the center of the dog run to which plaques are affixed in memoriam to dogs who have enjoyed its pleasures.
For just plain hanging out, there are loads of grassy and non-grassy, shady and sunny spaces open to humans (but not dogs) throughout this park. There are also picnic tables here and there, and benches everywhere.
The down side, as in so many city parks, is the public restrooms. Here the toilets do (usually) function but there are no doors at all on many of the stalls, the running water is only cold, and while there is toilet paper, paper towels are rare.
On Sundays from 10am-5pm a Greenmarket is set up just outside the park at corner of 7th Street and Avenue A, with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables from local farmers.