FLATIRON — The sprinklers and spray showers in the East Side's public parks have opened for the summer season, offering kid-friendly heat relief that's fun, convenient and free.
Here are some of the best playground water features in Gramercy, Flatiron, Kips Bay and Union Square:
Madison Square Park's Police Officer Moira Ann Smith Playground contains one of the area's most colorful options for cooling off. Its spray shower area features several small bubblers and a spinning, water-spreading pinwheel.
"They have concerts here on Tuesdays and Thursdays, so it's a fun afterwards thing," said Rachael, a first-timer at the playground who was there with her daughter, Sadie, who is almost 2.
Union Square's 15,000-square-foot playground, renovated in 2010, is spacious, easily accessible and offers a water feature with plenty of room for kids to play and parents to watch nearby, parents said on a recent hot afternoon.
Irmina, originally from Poland, brings her son Stanley to the playground at least once a month.
"He loves everything," she said. "The sand, the water — and it's near the [Barnes & Noble] bookstore."
Located in Kips Bay on First Avenue between 35th and 36th streets, this tree-filled park provides a shady respite near several city hospitals. Kids can cool off in a sunken sprinkler area with a bubbling fountain in the middle and jets spraying from the sides.
Augustus St. Gaudens Playground, amid a concrete spread of swing sets and basketball courts, offers active kids a change to cool down with its shower-like spray fixture.