July 24, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a new initiative today to turn a dozen blocks citywide into play arenas for New York City kids.
The initiative, dubbed ‘Play Streets,’ will turn 12 open streets — including three in the Jackson Heights/ Corona area — into a play space on weekdays with set activities for children.
Each of the blocks will launch on a rolling basis beginning next week and will run through Sept. 4. The three Queens Play Streets will open next Thursday.
“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,” de Blasio said.
The city is partnering with three local organizations, the Fresh Air Fund, Building Healthy Communities and the Police Athletic League, to offer children a range of activities.
On designated Play Streets, children can participate in arts and crafts projects that include making kaleidoscopes, birdhouses, rhythm drums, and cloud climbers.
They can also play a game of giant Connect 4 and Jenga or grab a book in a reading corner along the street.
Kids can join in a game of basketball, frisbee, softball, wiffle ball, kickball and laser tag on the streets. They can also follow a dance class, cardio exercises and yoga lessons.
All Play Streets programming is designed to meet social distancing guidelines, de Blasio said.
Street Lab, a local 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 for the 12 streets.
No vehicles will be allowed to park or enter the streets during the Play Street hours.
The three Play Streets in Queens will be open for play from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Mondays through Thursdays. The select streets are listed below:
34th Avenue, from 72nd Street to 74th Street
34th Avenue, from 79th Street to 80th Street
34th Avenue, from 92nd Street to 94th Street