Astoria Heights Playground doesn’t look any different from your standard jungle gym. It has swings and slides, plus plenty of benches where tired parents can catch their breath. Kids cover the ground in chalk doodles, just like they do everywhere else, and occasionally scrape their knees on the ramps.
But there’s something unique about this Queens playground and no, it’s not the newly installed water jets that douse delighted toddlers. Astoria Heights Playground just underwent a $1.1 million makeover that included a lot more than new equipment. It’s now capable of capturing stormwater, a feature that will help prevent sewer overflow and minimize flooding, making Astoria Heights Playground an especially eco-friendly play place.
Playgrounds that double as stormwater management systems are becoming somewhat trendy in New York City. Over the past six years, NYC officials have been working with the Trust for Public Land to create dozens of “green playgrounds” designed manage water runoff and reduce pollution. It's resulted in new or renovated parks in Queens as well as the city's other four boroughs.