Billy Johnson Playground in Central Park to get new, improved water feature: NYCurious

This is part of our series, NYCurious, where we answer your questions about the city. Tweet or Facebook Message your queries to us at @amNewYork, with #NYCurious.

Question: Will the renovated Billy Johnson Playground include a water feature? — Greg Bauer, 62, Washington Heights

Yes, The Billy Johnson Playground, located in the park near East 67th Street, is undergoing a restoration that will add several new features, including new water jets.

The renovation, expected to be completed by the summer, will also enhance the playground’s current design, which was done in the 1980s. That design, by architect M. Paul Friedberg, was meant to be “rustic” and appear natural, the Central Park Conservancy said. 

Currently, the playground has one sprinkler. “The water feature actually dates to the original playground that was built in the 1950s,” said Lane Addonizio, the vice president for planning, design and construction at the Central Park Conservancy.

The new feature will have multiple jets that are flush with the ground, Addonizio said. The jets will be in the area of the bridge, as well as the stone amphitheater, which was the original intent of the 1980s design, she said.

The new water feature will use hydraulics to operate, as there is no electricity in the playground. It also will save water by operating only when activated by a button. When the button is pressed, the jets will go on for a few minutes, and then go off, as opposed to running all day long, Addonizio said. 

Other new features of the playground will include a climbing net, a second granite slide and new swings, according to the plans on the Conservancy website. 

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