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Parkour Equipment Coming to Riverside Park South

By Emily Frost | February 23, 2016 6:39pm
 Parkour equipment will go next to the basketball courts near West 72nd Street in Riverside Park. 
Riverside Park Parkour Equipment
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UPPER WEST SIDE — The city is installing special equipment for parkour enthusiasts in Riverside Park as a part of a multimillion-dollar redesign that will begin construction this summer. 

The Parks Department is installing the obstacle course-style equipment between West 69th and 70th streets in the park, just south of the basketball courts and under the highway structure, agency officials said. 

Parkour, which first emerged in France in the 1990s and has spread in popularity across the world, involves acrobatic vaulting, swinging, jumping, leaping and rolling between objects. Typically parkour practitioners use urban infrastructure, leaping from benches to bike racks and over fences, or even between building roofs.

But classes for acrobatic kids and exercise structures, like the ones the Parks Department plans to install, are aimed at finding safer ways to practice the sport.  

The installation will include equipment, likely from the manufacturer Lappset, as well as a safety surface underneath, new paving around the area and new fencing, said a department spokeswoman. 

The parkour space is "specifically geared towards teens," said Parks Department Landscape Architect Meredith Bracken. "We feel that they’re underserved,"

The idea is for participants to move between the pieces of equipment in "a connective loop," she noted. 

"It takes quite a bit of dexterity and practice," Bracken said. 

This part of the larger Gale Brewer-funded plan to upgrade Riverside Park South, which runs from West 72nd to 59th streets, should get under way this summer, Bracken added.

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