The challenge: run through six playground sprinklers on a hot summer day in under an hour.
The competitors: Todd and Samuel, the two oldest living kids on the Upper West Side.
Sprinkler 1: 100th Street Playground. Great playground with pyramid and climbing structures. Water area had fountains and mist. This is where everyone was today.
Sprinkler 2: 96th Street Playground. A little quieter. Samuel said he used to come here a lot with his friends after school. Small water area with water jets in a circle. We let the kids spray us.
Sprinkler 3: Wild West Playground at 93rd Street. It was revamped last year, so everything is new. It has two water spray areas connected by a tiny canal filled with toys and plastic shovels and toddlers' bottoms. I could've stayed for an hour or two...but we were on the clock.
Sprinkler 4: The Safari Playground at 91st. We've always called it the Hippo Playground, because of the sculptures embedded in the ground. But there's not much to do here, it's completely in the shade, and it was virtually deserted.
Sprinkler 5: 85th Street Playground. We always called it the "Big Kids Playground" when the boys were growing up--to differentiate it from the "Little Kids Playground" a block away. It's in need of an update, but there was a decent crowd here because the Little Kids Playground is closed for renovation.
Brief detour across the monkey bars at the Diana Ross Playground at 81st Street, the final stop on our challenge.
Sprinkler #6: The boys spent a lot of time at this playground over the years, as it's closest to our apartment. The wooden climbing area is great but getting a little long in the tooth. There's a big, round water area with steps for sitting, but only a small fountain in the middle.
Good enough for a diapered toddler. Good enough for us.
Almost forgot--reward for successfully completing the challenge: a black & white milkshake...