In New York City, the streets are our backyards, the hydrants our sprinklers, and in the heat of a New York summer, people just don’t want to travel very far to have fun. According to KaBoom, 97 out of 188 neighborhoods do not provide enough play space for children. Meanwhile, one in four children is obese. In a city where space is at a premium and there simply isn’t enough room in some areas for new parks and playgrounds, how can we ensure that more children are able to play outside? Here is where the play street comes in. Play streets or pop up playgrounds are exactly what they sound like, streets where kids and families can play and socialize. They occur on local streets officially closed to traffic, and are open to people at regularly scheduled times, such as from 10 am to 2 pm on Thursdays in July and August. They turn the urban front yard — the street — into a safe, engaging space to play.
Police Athletic League Play Streets
Established in 1914, the PAL summer Play Street program has been closing off streets and other public areas throughout New York City to give children safe, supervised and fun-filled places to play and learn. There are 12 Brooklyn PAL Play Streets this summer from July 5th to August 19th 2012.
NY Parks Play Streets
While awaiting the completion of New York City’s next batch of parks and playgrounds, the Departments of Health & Mental Hygiene, Transportation, and Parks have created Playstreets to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic in our cities. Playstreets allows communities to open up their streets to pedestrians for play on a recurrent basis. It is a quick and low-cost way to create active play space and is a health measure that directly targets our city’s most important at–risk population—children.
Have fun this summer and get out in your neighborhood.