The same day the Landmarks Preservation Commission recently took up major work to be done in and around Central Park’s iconic Belvedere Castle, they also took up changes slated for the East 108th Street/Bernard Family Playground. The proposal, from the Central Park Conservancy, will modernize the playground and make it more accessible.
The playground’s footprint will grow from 5,200 square feet to 6,000 square feet, a 15 percent increase. The growth will occur on the south end of the playground, where new swings will be installed. New wood and concrete benches will be installed throughout, along with a new steel picket fence on the north end and improved buffering and planting on the east side. In the center, the climbers and sliders will be replaced with new equipment and the sand box will be replaced with a new sand play area. The water play area on the north end will also be replaced.
Manhattan Community Board 7 supported the proposed changes. LPC Chair Meenakshi Srinivasan called them “very modest” and all nine of the commissioners present on May 2, 2017 voted in favor of them. However, as the playground is part of the Central Park scenic landmark, the LPC only has an advisory role here. So, the commission issued not a certificate of appropriateness, but an advisory report to the Public Design Commission, which has the final say.