Central Park Conservancy

We are invested in creating and maintaining public parks and gardens in New York City and have the distinction of having underwritten playgrounds at the most northern, southern, eastern and western reaches of Central Park. These include the completion of the northernmost playground in Central Park, at 110th Street; the 1926 Heckscher Ball Fields and Heckscher Playground at the southernmost part of Central Park; the Ruth and Arthur Smadbeck Heckscher East Playground, one of the most heavily-used and distinctive features on the eastern side of Central Park, and a new playground on West 85th Street and Central Park West which is of particular significance due to its location at the historic center of Seneca Village, a site that, prior to the creation of Central Park, was home to a thriving community of free African American property owners. The restoration of this new playground will be undertaken in the context of broader planning for the area that historically encompassed Seneca Village and an independent but related effort to restore the site in a way that supports interpretation of the landscape and commemoration of the lives of those who inhabited this community and will provide a unique play experience for children in the 5-12 age group in particular. The Conservancy estimates that the restored playground will receive approximately 150,000 visits annually by about 15,000 children.

The Central Park Conservancy has collaborated with The Heckscher Foundation for Children for over 40 years on major projects in Central Park which have benefitted countless numbers of New York City children and families. Central Park’s playgrounds attract over 3 million children annually and are an important element of the Park’s program. Our new playground collaboration on the west side of the Park near the Seneca Village site, will be the fourth playground project funded by the Foundation, and an important addition to our body of work in the Park over the next several years.
Betsy Smith
President and CEO, Central Park Conservancy