On the shores of Hempstead Bay on Long Island, on a former brownfield site, a new neighborhood has sprung up. Located along an inlet and connected by a boardwalk, Garvies Point’s stores, restaurants and playgrounds are already a popular destination for residents of Glen Cove, NY. One of the most eye-catching features is the playground with its distinctive dolphin tower.
Just a few weeks after its dedication, the park has already become a favorite of children and families. “We wanted a very significant vertical element that could be seen from other areas of the site and that would draw kids there,” explains Parisi, MPFP’s managing director and the lead designer on the Garvies Point project. “We didn’t want to hide the playground. “The playground is right off a large lawn and looks out over the adjacent boardwalk to Glen Cove Creek. Behind it is a forest. The cluster of homes in the area give the feel of a village.
Garvies Point Playground, part of the Garvies Point Planned Development, was always envisioned as something unique.
“We wanted to do something different,” Parisi recalls. The design team didn’t want another typical urban playground with its predictable collection of swings, slides and climbing bars. “We looked specifically at European manufacturers for something that looked like a tower, that had a more original feel … That was our goal.”
Not only did the team find just the right tower, but they also discovered a variety of creatively designed equipment that realized their vision for the playground. Working with Goric Playgrounds to customize and create the technical specifications, the team selected the components, decided on the layout, and created working plans and renderings of how the court would look once built.
“Goric is one of the best distributors I’ve ever worked with,” said Shawn Partin, who led the development of the playground.
“Not only were they very knowledgeable and provided everything I wanted, they provided all the details and CAD, they provided 3D, they provided all the cut pieces. They helped me understand what parts of the product I could match with different colors so I could achieve the aesthetic that MPFP and Garvies were going for.”
Getting the details just right was even more critical for the Garvies Point project than for many other similar developments. City leaders had intended to redevelop the former industrial site as early as the 1980s. Years of redevelopment made the community wary, let alone another proposal, when RXR Realty received planning approval in 2014. It would be a few more years before legal challenges were resolved and ground could finally be broken on the $1.3 billion mixed-use project.
Goric and Kaiser & Kuehne “designed conceptual designs that were very similar to some of the towers and playground equipment we had designed years ago,” Parisi observed. “And we were able to get them basically already compliant with government standards. They met the guidelines, met the requirements, and we didn’t have to hire specialty vendors to build them.”
“We had always told all the people (in the community and those involved in the project) and the planning committee members that this playground was going to be special,” he says. “That’s what led us to Goric and Kaiser & Kuehne.”
Preparing to present the playground to the community and the planning committee was especially critical because of the history of the project and the promises the planning team made to the public and to themselves.
When it came time to prepare construction documents, Goric was on hand. Partin, who became part of the MPFP team in 2015 when he joined the firm, says Goric was closely involved in the playground’s construction and expedited permitting.
On a sunny, warm May day last month, the Garvies Point playground was dedicated. Parents and children – lots of children – the contractor, City Council members, the mayor and others gathered for the ceremonial red ribbon cutting. Within minutes, children were balancing, spinning in the moon gyroscope, and most importantly, climbing the Dalben Tower to slide down the tunnel slide.
The tower and its magical slide have become the trademark of the entire playground. And that’s exactly what Parisi and his team wanted.
“That’s what drove us, yeah, exactly. We were on our own tower.”