In 2014, a community engagement artist (Eve Mosher) and a democratic educator (Alex Khost) began holding pop-up adventure play events in public parks in hopes of opening a rooted adventure playground. Inspired and trained in play work by Pop Up Adventure Play, they were joined by a circus educator (Yoni Kallai), a researcher (Reilly Bergin Wilson), a playground designer (Robin Meyer), an arts educator (Jackie Katz), a former NGO project manager (Anne Morosini), and another democratic educator (Philipp Klaus). In 2015, the group collectively formed the organization play:groundNYC. As the pop-ups grew in popularity, Governors Island invited play:groundNYC to host a two-day play event on the island.
The success of the adventure play pop-up events resonated with New Yorkers. They expressed their gratitude for the profound impact self-directed play had on their children. A year later play:groundNYC partnered with the Trust for Governors Island and opened The Yard, New York City’s only adventure playground. play:groundNYC continues to offer loose parts materials play to children throughout the city, giving them spaces to play freely without judgement.
Without the passion of our founding board members, play:groundNYC would not be the robust organization providing free play across the city it is today.
Reilly Bergin Wilson