Heckscher Playground was included in the original children were actually allowed to…play. At 3 acres it is also the largest playground and the only one located in the southern area of the park. The playground offers a range of play equipment including 14 swings, seesaws, and a wooden suspension bridge; it also features its own restroom facilities. The ball fields are also equipped with bleachers for the convenience of spectators.
The Playground was named for August Heckscher Sr. (1848-1941)–real estate magnate, financier, philanthropist, and grandfather of August Heckscher III (1914-1997), Parks Commissioner under Mayor John V. Lindsay (1921-2000). Heckscher was born in Hamburg, Germany, the son of the German Minister of Justice. He studied in Switzerland, apprenticed at an export house in Hamburg, then moved to New York in 1867.
The original installation of Heckscher Playground was bitterly fought over. As it has been since its inception Central Park has been the center of an ongoing debate concerning its purpose. Is it to be used for recreation, is it to be a quiet, pastoral retreat from bustling city around it or is it to display the more formal aspects of traditional parks in Europe. Happily this debate has usually ended in compromise that benefits all the users of the park.
Location: Seventh Avenue & Central Park South from 61st to 63rd Streets
Details: Restrooms are located within the playground
Hours: Playgrounds open every day at 7:30 a.m. and close at dusk