The Seward Park playground is worth the commute to the Lower East Side, even if you don’t live within walking distance. It’s right outside the F train East Broadway stop, and this summer you will find a very colorful public art installation that will pique your kids’ interests and tickle their imaginations. Mom-and-Pops of the L.E.S. is an 8 by 12 foot wooden structure by James and Karla Murray that features four different iconic NYC store fronts. The opening celebration for Mom-and-Pops will be on Saturday, July 14 from 1:00 - 3:00 pm and will be open to the public.
The last time we came to the playground we were treated to a jazzercise session being conducted by a lovely group of elderly women, who inspired Curious G and her buddy to launch into their own dance routines. It was a memorable scene that will live in our memories forever. When we visited this past Tuesday, the jazzercisers were absent but we were treated to the Mom-and-Pops display, which Curious G thoroughly enjoyed. She spent some time studying each laminated mixed media image, and trying to figure out where the opening was to this fun sized box. At home, one of Curious G's favorite coffee table books just happens to be Store Front: The Disappearing Face of New York by James and Karla Murray.
After exploring the art installation, Curious G ran through the sprinklers, took a turn on the swings, and played on the three different rainbow colored jungle gyms. The three different jungle gyms range in size and target different age ranges. It was about 90 degrees out, but the playground is surrounded by trees that supply ample shade. When we sat under the shade on one of the many benches to have a snack, we barely broke a sweat.
There are many trendy eateries, which opened up in the past few years on the streets surrounding the park, including Dimes, Kopitiam, The Bao Shoppe, and Ice and Vice; but since Chinatown is also within arm’s reach from the park we did a little exploring and wound up in an un-air-conditioned bakery where we had the most delicious mango sticky rice cake. I regret that I did not even take down the name of the bakery (and that I forgot the wet wipes), but it was kind of a hole in the wall and may not have had an English name. After walking around in the sweltering heat, I was only thinking about sugar and air conditioning; and the lack of air conditioning as we sat there eating glutinous and gooey pastries (with crumbs falling all over the place from Curious G’s sticky fingers and custard smeared face) the heat was clouding my brain. I promise to go back and record the name and location, and include it in my Chinatown post, which is coming soon. So, stay tuned.