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The Best Playgrounds in Fort Greene and Clinton Hill

By Janet Upadhye | July 10, 2012 8:08am
A 7-month-old baby swings in Washington Hall Playground.
A 7-month-old baby swings in Washington Hall Playground.
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Janet Upadhye/DNAinfo

FORT GREENE — It's no secret that Fort Greene has become a popular place to raise a family.

Strollers are almost as common as trees along its historic streets, and with 11 public playgrounds in the square-mile area that includes Clinton Hill, families keep finding more to love about living in the neighborhood. 

Maria Guido, who blogs for Guerilla Mom, a site for parents on a budget, has lived in Fort Greene for 10 years and watched young families flock to the area. Now raising her own child, 1-year-old Lucien, she understands the draw.

"There are definitely a lot of great playgrounds," she said. "That is one major upside to raising a family here."

From small to immense, shady to sun-drenched, sprinklers to swingsets, DNAinfo.com New York checked out each of the neighborhood's play spaces to ask parents what they think. 

Amping up for a water fight in Washington Hall Playground.
Amping up for a water fight in Washington Hall Playground.
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Janet Upadhye/DNAinfo

(All playgrounds listed are wheelchair accessible, except for Cuyler Gore Playground on Fulton Street.)

Underwood Park Playground

Across the street from the Clinton-Washington C train subway stop, Underwood boasts three large play structures, benches and picnic tables, and a roomy sprinkler play area. Trees shade most of the playground, and walking paths border the perimeter. The swingsets may require waiting for a turn, but with six swings for toddlers and six more for big kids, the line goes fast. "This is the largest playground in the area," said local mom Ippolita Ferrari. "And in the summer, the shade is great."

Where to find it: Lafayette Avenue between Waverly and Washington avenues

Albert J. Parham Playground

The best part of this playground is its 3-foot-deep pool, but there’s also grass to sit on, trees that canopy the two play structures, and a sprinkler area where children and adults were cooling off on a recent Sunday afternoon.

Michelle Brown, who was looking after her 3-year-old nephew, said the park is unique because of the camaraderie. "You see the same people all the time here," she said. "This park feels like family."

Where to find it: Willoughby Avenue between Adelphi Street and Clermont Avenue

Oracle Playground

The sprinkler structure is unique at Oracle, with arches that spray water on kids as they run underneath. Three large structures with multilevel monkey bars and swingsets are stationed near the edges of the park, where there is a little shade. The center of the park is completely exposed to the sun. Luckily for parents, the benches all sit under the trees.

Where to find it: Adelphi Street between Myrtle and Park avenues

Oxport Playground

This enclosed park is right off of Flushing Avenue, a busy thoroughfare, making it fairly noisy. "And there’s lots of bugs here," added local mother Shirley, who declined to give her last name. "But the enclosures are nice, the kids can’t run out." Shirley added that the shade in the park is cooling and the kids have a good time there, but she wishes there were bathrooms. The park does have swingsets, play structures and a small sprinkler area.

Where to find it: Flushing Avenue between North Portland Avenue and North Oxford Street

Commodore Barry Playground

The pool had just opened next door and the playground was in full swing at this massive park on Sunday afternoon. Kids in bathing suits ran through the sprinkler and pumped their legs on the swings. The play area is large, with at least four structures and an equal amount of shade and sun. The downside? Park renovation is going on in the area next to the playground, with dust and noise often drifting into the play area, local residents cautioned.

Where to find it: Nassau Street between Park and Flushing avenues

Cuyler Gore Playground

Cuyler Gore Park is a small triangular space where Fulton Street meets Greene Avenue. There is one large play structure and a small sprinkler area. The park is shady with wide pathways and plenty of benches to sit on, offering a nice green reprieve from the hot streets. Many events are hosted near the playground during the summer in this park, which is near to the A, C and G trains on Fulton Street.

Where to find it: Fulton Street and Cumberland Avenue

Edmonds Playground

The playground is adjacent to basketball courts where the big kids can play. There are two small play structures and multiple swings. Trees cover the entire area, and the small sprinkler play area offers a great place for little ones to cool off in the summer. Best of all, kids love to climb all over the animal statues, especially the camel with two humps. "I love how shaded this park is," said parent Dune Lawrence while watching her two kids. "The downside is there are two entrances, which gets hard with two kids to keep an eye on."

Play area in Oxport Playground in Fort Greene.
Play area in Oxport Playground in Fort Greene.
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Janet Upadhye/DNAinfo

Where to find it: DeKalb Avenue between Adelphi Street and Carlton Avenue

Pratt Playground

Right next to the Pratt campus, this playground is great for students and locals. Picnic tables near the play structure make it great for barbecuing while the children run around. There is no grass to sit on, but the benches make up for that. Public restrooms are available, and two large structures and six swings provide entertainment for the little ones. Some parts of the playground are shadier than others, but overall the space feels full of green and trees.

Where to find it: Willoughby Avenue between Steuben Street and Emerson Place

Fort Greene Park Playground, south side

A small fenced-in play area sits right next to the dog run and soccer field. There are benches along the fence of the playground, but there is virtually no shade in the space. Kids play right under the sun in the summer.

Where to find it: Corner of Fort Greene Park near DeKalb Avenue and Washington Park

Fort Greene Park Playground, north side

Local children love this huge place space, which is often teeming with kids of all sizes. There are two separate play areas — the first with a play structure that features steering wheels and two levels and includes hanging bridges and several slides. The other side has a smaller structure, but tends to be less crowded. In between the two is a walking path and large sprinkler area. Little stone structures surround the area, with state names and state animals carved on their sides so kids can learn while they play. There are public restrooms right in the playground for emergencies. Plenty of benches let caretakers relax and chat while the kids play. The entire area is well shaded.

Where to find it: Corner of Fort Greene Park at Myrtle Avenue and St. Edwards Street

Washington Hall Playground

It's a small area but with plenty of breeze and shade, and a full-blown water fight broke out Sunday among a huge group of kids. "We’ve been here all day playing in the water," said Nelson Mateo, local father of two. "We come here a lot." Full of swings, climbing structures and sprinklers, this park has all the fixins and is small enough to allow parents to keep a good eye on children.

Where to find it: Park Avenue between Washington Avenue and Hall Street