Four Questions With Alex Reznik, Founder of Complete Playground

11/29/2023 in
Four Questions With Alex Reznik, Founder of Complete Playground

Lower Manhattan is about to get a little more exciting for the under-12 set. Alex Reznik, a longtime downtown resident and the mastermind behind beloved local gym CompleteBody (10 Hanover Sq.), is about to debut Complete Playground, a non-profit inclusive family center that aims to combine play, education and skill building for children across the learning and neurodevelopment spectrums. Reznik was inspired to launch Complete Playground after finding a dearth of inclusive programming in the neighborhood for his neurodivergent son; he hopes the new multi-floor space at 30 Broad St. will serve as a go-to destination in the neighborhood for everyone. 

We spoke with Reznik to learn more about Complete Playground, which he hopes to soft-open in January; for information about programming, membership fees and donations, visit Complete Playground’s website.

Can you tell us a little about your connection to Lower Manhattan?

My strong connection to Lower Manhattan is rooted in the area’s recent transformation into a more family and kid-friendly neighborhood. I personally have lived in Battery Park and the Financial District area for over 30 years and observed the changing landscape, with many families moving here, schools in the vicinity, Battery Park just a few blocks away, and a growing number of residential buildings being constructed. 

Complete Body has been a part of the community for over 20 years, promoting wellness and fitness and we are the only commercial gym chain with four locations who also does residential and corporate gym management. The Complete Playground project is an extension of our commitment to wellness and inclusion, aligning with the changing needs of the neighborhood.

What was the inspiration for Complete Playground?

The inspiration for Complete Playground is deeply personal. When my son Milan was diagnosed as neurodivergent at the age of two, it opened my eyes to the challenges parents face in finding suitable services. I also realized it’s very common; every fifth child in the U.S. is neurodivergent. I began searching for sensory rooms, sensory gyms, speech therapy and occupational therapy. I quickly realized that options were limited, especially in downtown Manhattan. 

Milan has two neurotypical brothers who don’t have any indoor playground to play in. Originally from Ukraine and having spent a lot of time in Europe, where indoor playgrounds are very popular, I was very surprised not to see any of them in NYC. Milan was non-verbal, so he had to go to a special school, but did not have much improvement/progress. Only when he was put in an inclusion class, he immediately started talking and improved his social skills. This compelled me to create a space that provides these essential services while also creating a fun and inclusive environment for all children to play together.

What is your vision for the space?

My vision for Complete Playground is extensive. It’s a versatile center that caters to the needs of all children, including those who require special attention due to their diverse needs. We aim to offer a wide range of services, including sensory rooms, sensory gyms, speech services, martial arts, robotics, gymnastics, fine art, early childhood enrichment classes and birthday parties. This space is designed to be not just an indoor playground, but also a hub for enrichment and therapeutic programs. Our ultimate goal is to create a welcoming and inclusive environment where all children, regardless of their unique requirements, can thrive. 

What kind of programming will Complete Playground offer? 

Complete Playground is currently in its initial operational phase, and we’re already offering a range of services. As we prepare for our grand opening, we’ve introduced an ongoing martial arts program and exclusive pre-opening annual memberships. Each membership plays a pivotal role in supporting our mission. We are also conducting demo and trial classes like robotics, fine art, and Mommy and Me classes for our community.

When we officially open, our offerings will expand to include a wide array of programs. We will host public schools for daily trips and playtime during the week. In addition to these services, we’ll be introducing gymnastics, dance classes, art and craft activities and more to cater to the diverse needs of our community. We will also provide the space for birthday parties, making it a place for celebrations for children of all ages (from 1yo – 12yo). Importantly, it’s a space where siblings can play together, fostering a sense of inclusivity and togetherness among all children. One of the reasons for this expansion is the high demand for our services, especially from parents seeking enriching after-school programs and engaging summer camps for their children. We are excited about the positive impact these additions will have on our community and look forward to providing a holistic and inclusive space for all children.

Tags: complete playground

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