Day 31

Play Street

January 30th, 2012

Play streets — blocks of local city streets that are closed off to vehicular traffic during certain hours to give kids a safe place to play — date back to at least 1915. You can see old photos of play streets here and here.

Play streets currently seem to come in two distinct varieties. Summer, or community, play streets operate during the, well, summer, mostly "in neighborhoods where money and open space are scarce. Play streets often serve children who cannot afford day camp, much less sleep-away adventures." School play streets, on the other hand, operate during the school year and provide extra recreational space for "schools with limited or no access to a gymnasium, multi-purpose space, or outdoor recreation facilities."

Here's a short video of a summer play street in action. The kid at 0:36 just can't restrain himself.

The sign above is located outside an elementary school (PS 55), but it looks to me, based on its hours, like it's for a summer play street. (If that is indeed the case, I have no idea what it's doing on the sidewalk here in January.)


  1. tna says:

    So in parts of NYC good parenting includes telling the kids to go play in the streets.

  2. Dorinda from Mentor, Oh. says:

    At first I thought it kind of crazy but after watching your link it made more sense. It’s not just for the kids to go out and play but more of a street market for the community along with other activities. That makes sense because when I first saw this I thought how is one silly little sign supposed to keep cars from just blowing right through the sign?

  3. Karen Too says:

    Gets the kids exercising, and teaches them about vegetables.

    If anyone thinks this is a stretch, check out:

    Sadly, the show got axed after only two seasons, but they can be found on DVD, and probably on YouTube.

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