Teardrop Park: Battery Park’s Secret Oasis of Play

A review of a Manhattan playground that's perfect during hot summer months!

Teardrop Park's Slide. Bigger than Pier 6's

So you love the slides, the sand, the landscaping, and water features at the new Brooklyn Bridge Park’s Pier 6. But you wish it were less crowded and shadier now that the summertime sun is hitting peak burn potential. Done.

 

Teardrop Park, designed by Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates the same firm behind Pier 6, is a smaller slice of the headlining park’s action and charm tucked away in the canyons of Battery Park. It’s a treasure of a play area that takes a treasure map to find (see Directions below), which probably explains why it’s never too crowded. But once you do find it, you’ll encounter the same curving paths, lush greenery, rocky landscape, over-sized slide, and geyser-filled water grotto. What you won’t find are the swings and webby climbing structures.

 

Highlights

 

The Giant Slide: In the context of the soaring condos around it, the super slide at the heart of Teardrop Park may not seem so tall, but it’s actually longer than the Pier 6 versions. Rising up a mountain of rocks, the slide is not so steep that it frightens little ones. Children as young as 18-months were zipping down solo, landing comfortably on two feet in the sand area, and infants were all smiles riding down on grown-up laps. It’s getting up to the top that might give you some pause. While there is a sidewalk option, most kids are set on climbing up the rocks along either side of the slide. Some of the stones are arranged as stairs, but they’re tall, sandy, and slippery. I had to spot my 2.5 year old up the rocky route, but it was a great excuse for me to ride down in his wake.

 

Jets of Water Cool kids in the Water Grotto

The Water Grotto: You can see that this was a first draft for the water area at Pier 6. Featuring the same pebbled-rubber mat surface, piles of rocks, and jets that seem to spray in every direction, it’s a cozy spot that has the added benefit of being shadier than it’s Brooklyn counterpart. A powerful water jet shooting straight out from the rocks is a magnet for bigger kids, geyser-style sprinklers appeal to toddlers, and a few bubbling springs near a wooden deck provide a gentle water experience for the newly-walking set. A group of 10 year-olds were climbing the rocks above the water, which seemed a bit risky given that the lower boulders would most likely be the first thing to break a fall before the soft mats. And watch out for slipping on the deck.

 

The Sand Box: Like Pier 6, the sand box is vast in size and bordered with good seating in the form of big rocks and a wooden stoop that provides perfect perches for watching kids rocket down the slide. The sand was good quality and free of cigarette butts, gum wrappers, and the other trash that appear in some other city sand boxes. But, it doesn’t have the “donated” toy selection most other playgrounds have either, so you’ll want to bring your own pails and shovels.

 

Essentials

 

Bathrooms: Battery Park Conservancy-maintained bathrooms are just minutes away in The Solaire, a residence between Warren and Murray on River Terrace.

 

Eats: There are some delis along North End Terrace, but your best bet for easy snacking and dining is the Whole Foods just across the West Side Highway at Warren and Greenwich Streets. Take out or eat in the big dining area, complete with plenty of high chairs and a large bathroom with changing tables. The World Financial Center is also just four blocks south, with an array of kid friendly options ranging from Blockhead’s Burritos to Quality Burger.

 

Directions: Teardrop Park is located between Warren and Murray Streets on the north and south, North End and River Terraces on the west and east. Take the 1,2,3 or A, C to Chambers Street. From there, rely on the Parks Department “treasure” map to guide you.

 

The play area is surrounded in greenery on one end and high rocks on the other, so rely on your ears to hear squeals of delight and you’ll know you’ve found it.

 

Caroline Bailey