Volume 20, Number 36 | The Newspaper of Lower Manhattan | Feb. 1 - 7 , 2008


New play space opens in Tribeca

Having it both ways can be challenge. Not so at the new indoor playground at 95 Franklin St. that combines outdoor excitement in an indoor space.

Playgarden, which opened last weekend with a popular open house and introductory free classes, offers relatively tall climbing structures, seesaws, slides, tunnels and basketball hoops for children 6 months to 6 years old. A carpeted gym in the basement is reserved for classes where kids can also find trampolines and a ball bath.

“I was looking for a playground like that myself,” said co-owner Valeska von Schirmeister.

She spent two years of planning and $500,000 to open Playgarden in Tribeca ( The playground is open for classes as well as birthday parties for up to 25 kids.

Early reviews from Tribeca parents were mostly positive, but that feeling was not unanimous as at least one thought the prices are too high.

“It’s too much for me,” said Violaine Lenoir, whose one-year-old son, Dylan, just finished his first complimentary class at Playgarden.

“The class wasn’t great,” Lenoir said. “It wasn’t structured and they played adult music.”

But Emien Esucobar, who already signed up for a class for her 15-month-year-old son, Mayer, said: “I think it’s a great opportunity to come here,” said “and it’s cheaper compared to other playgrounds.”

Classes promote early physical movement and independent play to karate and ballet. Each class session lasts 17 weeks and costs $750, plus a $100 initiation fee. In order to use the playground, each kid has to be enrolled in a class and pay an extra $350.

— Sebastian Kahnert

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