play streets

Play Streets, Long-Standing Tradition for NYC Kids, Returns Adapted for Pandemic

Open Play Streets activities will be adapted to meet the safety standards of the new normal New Yorkers are facing when it comes to coronavirus.

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What to Know

  • Play Streets, a long-standing and beloved staple for New York City children, is returning to the Big Apple this summer, although adapted for the age of coronavirus.
  • Open Play Streets closes down streets to traffic, while opening them up to children in order for them to participate in fun activities and crafts.
  • COVID-19 has changed the way people go about their daily lives, including how children play. Due to this, Play Streets activities will be adapted to meet the safety standards of the new normal New Yorkers are facing when it comes to coronavirus.

Play Streets, a long-standing and beloved staple for New York City children, is returning to the Big Apple this summer, although adapted for the age of coronavirus.

Mayor Bill de Blasio made the Open Play Streets announcement during his Friday morning COVID-19 press briefing.

"When you think about all the things kids have been through and again not being able to get enough physical activity and play, not being able to see their friends as much. Lots of things have been on hold. We are going to open something up again. A good New York City tradition that has been so great for kids: Play Streets is coming back and that is going to be an important step forward for kids and families to have something to enjoy," de Blasio said.

Open Play Streets closes down streets to traffic, while opening them up to children in order for them to participate in fun activities and crafts.

"The play streets program, the open streets for kids, what we are talking about is having a lot of specific things for them to do: arts and crafts and sports activities, reading corners, dance classes – everything done the smart way," de Blasio said, adding that safety measures, like masks and social distancing will be implemented.

COVID-19 has changed the way people go about their daily lives, including how children play. Due to this, Play Streets activities will be adapted to meet the safety standards of the new normal New Yorkers are facing when it comes to coronavirus. One such activity as a result of the times is a "touchless obstacle course."

"An obstacle course for the age of COVID, but it's still going to give kids a lot of fun and a lot of exercise and it's going to be great for them," de Blasio said referencing the changes in activities due to the coronavirus. "So this is the reality of today, but we are going to make it work. We’re going to make it work with the right face coverings, social distancing. All the things we need to do while still giving the kids a really rewarding experience."

Among the activities and crafts planned for Play Streets are:

  • Basketball
  • Frisbee
  • Softball
  • Wiffle ball
  • Kickball
  • Giant board games
  • Reading corners
  • Dance classes
  • Kaleidoscopes, masks and birdhouse crafts

"A lot of great activities…we are going to do them a little bit differently in many ways but still so many great activities for kids," the mayor said.

De Blasio also announced an additional 1.5 miles of Open Streets -- a program that has been in existence for months and which allows New Yorkers open space in high-density neighborhoods by shutting down streets and converting them to pedestrian-only.

For more information on Play Streets, click here.

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