New York City Adds Play Streets To Nation-Leading Open Streets Initiative

Published on July 24, 2020, 4:52 am
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Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced Play Streets, a new initiative to provide families with safe, structured activities on 12 Open Streets during weekdays, in partnership with the Fresh Air Fund, Building Healthy Communities and the Police Athletic League. The Administration is also continuing the expansion of its nation-leading Open Streets program, moving the City further toward the goal of 100 miles laid out in late April, while removing some underused locations in coordination with local elected officials and community partners.

“Young people deserve the chance to play freely in their neighborhoods while staying safe from CoViD-19, and Play Streets will go a long way toward easing the burden of a summer unlike any other,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Rebuilding a fairer and better city means using our urban landscape creatively, and I am proud to build on the success of our Open Streets program by finding exciting and productive uses for city streets.”

At Play Streets locations, children will participate in independent crafting and art projects that include making kaleidoscopes, birdhouses, rhythm drums, and cloud climbers. Giant board games such as Connect 4 and Jenga will also be available. Sports drills will include basketball, frisbee, softball, Wiffle ball, kickball, and laser tag. Reading corners, dance classes, cardio and yoga exercises will also be provided. Street Lab, an NYC-based nonprofit that creates outdoor furniture and programming for public space, is providing 160 custom benches, and a new no-touch obstacle course called PLAY NYC. All programming is creatively designed to meet social distancing guidelines.

“As Open Streets continues to grow, providing New Yorkers with space to walk, bike, cool off, and enjoy outdoor dining, we are now proud to roll out Play Streetsfor children and their families in some of the City’s most CoViD-impacted neighborhoods,” said NYC DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “Thanks to Mayor de Blasio for his leadership and to our Play Streetspartners, including the Fresh Air Fund, Building Healthy Communities, the Police Athletic League and the Central Family Life Center.”

“Streets are meant to connect people to each other. The expansion of Open Streets demonstrates how we can continue to reimagine and transform our roads to better serve New Yorkers, keep our air cleaner with less polluting vehicles, and stay safer during the summer heat waves,” said Mark Chambers, Director of the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability. “The program announced today allows our young people to reengage the outdoors, their neighborhoods, and their communities.”

“The global pandemic has hit working families of color disproportionately hard, and our kids still need safe, active spaces for play within their communities,” said Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety Executive Director Renita Francois. “We are grateful to Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Transportation, the Police Athletic League, and the Fresh Air Fund for their partnership in opening our streets for young New Yorkers to enjoy their neighborhoods this summer.”

Play Streets locations will launch on a rolling basis beginning next week and will operate Monday through Friday through September 04, 2020. Hours vary by location, but will generally be from 10:00 a.m. to 05:00 p.m. and include streets adjacent to NYCHA developments as part of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety. Vehicles are not permitted to enter the streets during the hours of the full street closure. Organizing Partners will be responsible for setting up barricades and posting signage, as well as restoring the Open Street condition at the end of their programming. They will also post No Parking signage with days and times ahead of starting their activations.

Play Streets locations include:  

NeighborhoodBoroStreetFromToPartnerStart DateEnd DateDaysTimes
Sunset ParkBK6th Avenue44th Street45th StreetFresh Air Fund08/05/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
Crown HeightsBKPark PlaceNew York AvenueKingston AvenueFresh Air Fund08/03/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
BrownsvilleBKBlake AvenuePowell StreetMother Gaston BoulevardPAL07/27/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th12:00 a.m. – 05:00 pm
BushwickBKHumboldt StreetMoore StreetVaret StreetPAL07/27/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th12:00 a.m. – 05:00 pm
Quarry Ballfields/BelmontBXOak Tree PlaceHughes AvenueQuarry RoadFresh Air Fund08/03/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
Mt. Eden / HighbridgeBXCromwell AvenueMcClellan StreetJerome AvenueFresh Air Fund08/03/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
HarlemMN150th StreetSt. Nicholas PlaceEdgecombe AvenueFresh Air Fund08/05/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
HarlemMN129th StreetAdam Clayton Powell BoulevardFrederick Douglas BoulevardPAL07/27/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th12:00 a.m. – 05:00 pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Avenue72nd Street74th StreetFresh Air Fund07/30/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Avenue79th Street80th StreetFresh Air Fund07/30/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
Jackson Heights/CoronaQN34th Avenue92nd Street94th StreetFresh Air Fund07/30/2009/04/20M, T, W, Th10:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm
StapletonSIWright StreetCanal StreetThompson StreetThe Central Family Life Center08/07/2009/04/20F12:00 a.m. – 04:00 pm

  Open Streets will be added in:  

Local Partner Management
Good Shepherd ServicesBKWolcott StreetConover StreetVan Brunt Street0.09
700 Jefferson Avenue Block AssociationBKJefferson AvenuePatchen AvenueMalcolm X Boulevard0.15
Judson Memorial ChurchMNThompson StreetWest 3rd StreetWashington Square South0.05
LES BIDMNBroome StreetAllen StreetLudlow Street0.06
31st Avenue Open Street CollectiveQN31st Avenue31st Street36th Street0.25
RockroseQNDutch KillsJackson AvenueSunnyside Yards0.09
39th Avenue Open Street CoalitionQN47th Street
39th AvenueSkillman Avenue0.19
39th Avenue Open Street CoalitionQN49th Street39th AvenueSkillman Avenue0.19
Streets LabSIWright StreetCanal StreetThompson Street0.04
Local Precinct Management
ClaremontBX169th Street3rd AvenueWebster Avenue0.19
West VillageMNJane StreetHudson Street8th Avenue0.07
UESMNEast 90th Street5th AvenueMadison Avenue0.10
Port RichmondSIHenderson AvenueBroadwayAlaska Street0.16
Port RichmondSINew StreetCottage PlaceJewett Avenue0.09

  The following streets will be removed from the Open Streets program, and returned to normal vehicle traffic:   

BXLouis Nine BoulevardIntervale AvenueSouthern Boulevard0.13
BKProspect Park WestGarfield Place3rd Street0.15
BKParkside AvenuePark CircleOcean Avenue0.56
BKEast 7th StreetCaton StreetDitmas Avenue0.78
MN29th StreetBroadwayMadison Avenue0.19
QNCenter Boulevard57th AvenueBorden Avenue0.23
QN27 Street43rd AvenueQueens Plaza North0.16
QN85 Street25th Avenue30th Avenue0.13

Under Open Streets, pedestrians and cyclists are free to use the roadbed of each street. No through traffic is permitted, with remaining vehicle traffic limited to local deliveries, pick-ups/drop-offs, necessary city service, utility, and emergency vehicles only. Such drivers are alerted to be hyper-vigilant and to drive at 5 mph along these routes. Regular Open Streets operate from 08:00 a.m. to 08:00 p.m., with timing varying slightly depending on staff availability.

If you have questions about Open Streets or would like to request an Open Street in your community, please contact your NYC DOT Borough Commissioner’s office.

“Children in New York City need to be able to play outside in safe spaces now more than ever. The Fresh Air Fund is excited to serve children citywide as part of the new Open Streets: Play Streets program,” said Fatima Shama, executive director of The Fresh Air Fund.  “On open streets across the city, Fresh Air Summer Spaces will provide opportunities for art, movement and recreation activities that will have children engaged within their communities, following all physical-distancing guidelines, and experiencing some of the joys of summer amid these challenging times.”   “This is a unique moment to stand up for NYC kids, giving them a place to play and learn, while also expanding our city’s sense of what’s possible for streets and public space,” said Leslie Davol, Executive Director of Street Lab. “We’re all in, and we’re proud to play a role in supporting play streets.”

“The Police Athletic League is grateful for the City’s support in allowing us to provide safe recreational activities for youth this summer.  PAL feels it is important to provide safe recreational options for young people, and our Play Street model allows us to do that. Health and safety for our participants and staff is our highest priority. We are looking forward to serving young people this summer,” said Frederick J. Watts, Executive Director of the Police Athletic League.


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