2010 update: Portland Avenue has a brand new playground, with Kompan equipment. It looks nice although we haven't tried it out yet. The wading pool is still there, and still popular.
Today we thought we'd try out the Summer Playground Program at Portland Avenue Park. This is a good-sized park along a nice looking stretch of Portland Ave. It reminds me of Jefferson before the renovations. There's lots of open space, an older Big Toy, and a wading pool.
This park also has a nice community center, where they run quite a few programs including a summer day camp ($25 a week, all day, including food!) and a free afternoon sports camp. Inside the center there's a pool table and foos ball, although it doesn't look like either gets much use in the Summer months.
Portland Avenue Park is definitely due for an upgrade - about 20 kids squeezed themselves onto the one small play structure. Still, it's well-maintained and nobody seemed to be having a bad time.
The Summer Playground Program staff was good-humored, and kept the rather rowdy bunch of kids in the wading pool well enough in line without totally squashing the fun. This park is also a free lunch site, so bring the kids by at 12 for lunch or 4 for a snack. I've yet to see a park in the playground program I wouldn't happily go back to, and this one was no exception.
Portland Avenue Park
E 35th St and Portland Ave