The Battery Playscape Opens, 'Born of the Floodwaters of Hurricane Sandy'

Warrie Price watches her grandson, Field Price, try out the tallest of the slides in The Battery Playscape. Price, the founder and president of The Battery Conservancy, has been shepherding the redesign and renovation of the park for nearly 30 years. Photo: Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

Dec. 19, 2021

They ran, rolled, slid and climbed, and even saw a puppet show last Thursday as kids got their first taste of fun at The Battery Playscape, the city’s newest playground, and among its most flood resilient.

The $18.3 million play space triples the size of the one it replaces. Located on 1.5 acres in the southeast corner of the park, it is divided into five nature-inspired activity zones—the Bluff, Marsh, Riverbed, Dune, and Meadow—with myriad opportunities for imaginative play, including tree houses, water features, a climbing wall, five slides, an amphitheater and more.

Photos by Carl Glassman/Tribeca Trib

“We’re not dumbing down for our children. We’re giving them the best in contemporary design in a place created for play,” said Warrie Price, founder and president of the Battery Conservancy, and the driving force behind the now completed nearly 30-year renovation and redesign of the park. 

That design, a collaboration of BKSK Architects and Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects and Planners, sprung in part from the impact on the park from Hurricane Sandy in 2012. 

“We were born from the storm waters of Sandy and we give you today The Battery Playscape built to flood and recover,” Price told the crowd at the Dec. 16 opening ceremony. “This will be a great place to be after a rainstorm.”

An underground reservoir can collect up to 30,000 gallons of stormwater to help prevent flooding. In addition, water absorbent bioswales are built into the playground to help hydrate the plantings by collecting rainwater and the runoff from the water play feature.

“We just started looking at the site and thinking about it when Hurricane Sandy happened,” said Joan Krevlin of BKSK Architects. “It changed everything about how Warrie was able to think about the site, how we designed it from a resiliency and water management point of view, and from a play point of view.”

Starr Whitehouse’s Laura Starr, who grew up in Missouri, said the joy she took from nature helped inform her ideas for The Battery Playscape. “More than starting with play, we started with ecology and drew on our own experience of loving to hike and loving to rock climb, and bringing that to urban kids,” she said. “That is where I was coming from.”

Her face brightened as she watched kids climb to the top of the granite slides—18 feet at the highest—then speed to the bottom. “We said they’re going to love racing each other down the slide, and here they are,” the architect said.

“Look at this,” she added. “It’s really working!”