QUEENS — A drab Rego Park playground, consisting of crumbling handball court walls and worn asphalt, was recently replaced with a new one, featuring a fitness station, outdoor classroom, Ping-Pong tables and murals.
The playground, which opened last week at J.H.S. 157 Stephen A. Halsey on 102nd Street, also includes a track, basketball court and handball walls.
It will remain open to the public after school hours and during school breaks, seven days a week, the organizers said.
Designed by the Trust for Public Land, in partnership with the city's Department of Environmental Protection, and with input from local students, the playground also has a number of "green" features, including porous pavement, which is designed to capture the first inch of storm water every time it rains, so the runoff doesn't go into the sewer system.
“We have enough asphalt in New York City,” said Councilwoman Karen Koslowitz, who provided funding for the project.
Koslowitz added that the new playground "will provide a healthier, greener place for our children to play."
The Trust for Public Land, which conducted a three-month participatory design program with students at the school, designed several other “green” playgrounds around New York, but this is the group's first in Queens.
“Our youngsters were immersed in environmental engineering and ecology throughout the entire process,” said Vincent Suraci, principal of the school, which serves 1,250 students in sixth through ninth grade. "This was a creative, wonderful learning experience for our boys and girls."