It’s hard to believe, but the baby-booming Brooklyn neighborhood of DUMBO is not home to a kids’ indoor play space. Local residents Alexa Englander and Caroline Pardo, moms to four kids collectively, particularly felt the burn of this omission for obvious reasons. Lucky for their neighbors who are parents, they’re also savvy real estate professionals and entrepreneurs who decided to take matters into their own hands. In late June, the pair’s  Recess, a drop-in play space and kids’ class and event venue debuted. Read on to get the full scoop on the new venture!

Welcome to Recess

Located in the bottom floor of a residential building on Washington Street (just a few blocks from the York Street subway stop), Recess offers two spaces for different kinds of fun in its 2,200 square feet. A play space custom-designed by a local architectural and industrial design firm features four slides, rope tunnels, ladders, a fireman’s pole in a neutral palette and natural materials even the chicest of parents will approve of. (If Technicolor plastic is your thing, you won’t find it here.)

The play space at Recess is designed for kids six months to six years of age, and operates on both a membership and drop-in basis.

Drop-in visits are $30 per play, with a sibling fee of $20. Memberships, which start at $175 are offered Monthly, Seasonally and Annually, and include unlimited play, with additional benefits for the latter two. Read more about membership levels here.

Additional fun touches include colorful ship wheels for turning, binoculars and telescopes for spying and two small “walls” made from foam noodles at the base of one structure that are great for crawling through. A separate cubby area with two levels features a ladder and netting for getting in and out, as well as walls painted with bright blue magnetic paint and magnets for decorating. The larger play space also features a giant triangular structure outfitted with handles and netting and a bell to ring when you’ve reached the top! (Sort of rock climbing ultra-lite.)

For Tiny Tots

Recess also has a separate play space for the youngest of patrons. The area for babies and young toddlers includes a shorter climbing structure with slides, as well as a magnetic wall and lots of blocks, books, a bead maze and more for exploring and experimenting.

But Wait There’s More

Recess is more than just a play space; it hosts classes and events, too! The space has partnered with more than a dozen artists, teachers and companies such as Child’s Play, Chess at Three, Musicworks, Music Beans and Karma Kids Yoga to offer classes in yoga, ballet, hip-hop, capoeira, chess, theater, art, Mandarin, French, Spanish and more.

Recess will also be hosting movie nights, drop-off events for members, and other special events, such as performances by popular kids’ comedy sketch troupe The Story Pirates. (The theater group helped Recess celebrate its opening with an event in late June.)

You can even host a birthday party at recess, with packages that range from “Super” to “Super-Duper Supreme”, all of which include two hours of exclusive use of the play space. Additional options include face painting, live music, a magician, balloon twisting and more. Packages start at $650; you can get more information on birthday parties at Recess here.

Detail Work

Aside from providing a great space for your kids to get the wiggles out, Englander and Pardo sweat the details too. Tons of storage space, cubbies, hooks and closets keep everything — such as shoes and strollers out of the way and out of sight. (No shoes allowed in the play space, but please wear socks!)

Two bathrooms are outfitted with changing tables and decorated with cheery Recess-branded illustrations and an adult sitting area with tables and chairs is great for watching the kids play, or taking a snack break. For a limited time, Recess will also be providing light snacks, water and baby wipes to clients.

Recess DUMBO
81 Washington St.

Have you visited Recess? Tell us about your visit in the comments below!

—Mimi O’Connor


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