As in our inaugural At play post about the larger playground in Washington Square Park, this review is based on visits accompanied by a 16 to 24 month old child and the following factors in our assessment: sun/shade, seating, water, safety, and cleanliness.
Houston Street Playground is well shaded by large, broad London planetrees. However, pigeons roost in the trees and their droppings splatter unto most of the play structures and ground. Yesterday, the structures were the cleanest they have been of all our visits. A trash bin is located at the entry gate. There is litter but not enough to pose a concern.
The playground is surrounded by a tall fence. There are two entries: the northern one which faces the basketball court is chained but the southern one is not, and it is hard to secure. Also, users, especially preteens, do not close the gate on entering and leaving the playground. Luckily, the playground is located within a wide park so your child is not at immediate risk of running into the street.
There is adequate bench seating in the playground but we usually sit on the northern steps or on the play equipment. The benches are sometimes covered in pigeon droppings.
Water fountains and a wonderful misting fountain are located outside playground's southern gate.
This summer, the slides were a favorite; now, it is the jungle gym area and the short ramp just south of the misting fountain. Our youngest reviewer appears not to remember his summer visits as he kept referring to the playground as the "new playground". We will be going a few more times this season.