Review: Nelson A. Rockefeller Park in Battery Park City

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park (photo:

We’ve glimpsed spring in New York City and it’s a beautiful thing — sunshine! After breakfast in bed last Sunday morning, we ditched plans for The Bronx Zoo and headed instead to Tribeca for some kid-centric outdoor fun. Here’s what we found.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park — What it is:

A wide expanse of park, including an awesome playground, in lower Manhattan’s Battery Park City. (Let me just say that Tribeca moms have it good.) There are wide lawns, gardens, and public art displays which I’m sure are all worthy of exploration, but for us it was really all about the playground.

The play area, with sweeping water views, is vast and suitable for a wide age range of active adventurers. There’s a tot lot on one end, perfect for new and aspiring walkers. There are also slides, sand pits, a zippy pedal carousel, and impressive climbing equipment to keep the bigger kids busy. (Looks like there’s sprinkler action, too, when the weather warms up.)

Rockefeller Park

Magnolia up on the catwalk at Rockefeller Park.

You’ll also find covered picnic tables and benches for shady lunch or snack breaks. There are no swings in the main playground, but if you leave its confines and head north along the water (not very far), you’ll find some — in addition to ball courts and other open spaces ideal for bike and scooter riding.

A little farther north, just past the swings, you’ll find the tucked away Teardrop Park — don’t miss it! (Between Warren and Murray Streets, east of River Terrace. But don’t worry if you can’t find something around here — there are local strolling parents everywhere to ask.) The draw at Teardrop is a very high, loooong slide and big sand box.

Teardrop Park

Jasper glides down the slide -- wheeee!

Where it is:

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park is at the north end of Battery Park City, west of River Terrace.

What we thought of the place:

Big hit. Definitely a destination playground (with many other nearby goodies, too.) Keep reading….

While you’re in the ‘hood:

  • Stop by the Balloon Saloon (133 W. Broadway) for masses of big, shiny balloons and toys-a-go-go (no pressure to buy anything, it’s just fun to browse).
  • Have brunch at Landmarc — There are white tablecloths, yes, and the food is very much adult-pleasing, but don’t let that put you off. This Tribeca spot is way family-friendly, and we’ve been fans since Jasper was a baby. It’s kinda loud, which is a good thing — no worries about your brood disturbing other diners — there’s an extensive kids’ menu, and they rush over with pictures and crayons the second you’re seated. It’s pretty blissful.
  • Grab a chocolate chip cookie at Le Pain Quotidien, also on W. Broadway — They’re large. I’d say, um, about the size of your head, so the whole fam can share just one.
  • Take on an art project at Moomah.
Baloon Saloon

Nice to meet you, big balloon.

* First playground image from on The Best City Playgrounds


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