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Play Streets in New York City
Detail: Lyman Place is one of several official play streets in New York City. Most of these exist in neighborhoods where money and open space are scarce. Play streets often serve children who cannot afford day camp, much less sleep-away adventures. About 75 are run by the Police Athletic League; others, like Lyman Place, are organized at a more grass-roots level.

Hetty Fox has been the organizer of the Lyman Place summer play street for 33 years. Every day for the past 33 summers, Miss Fox has made sure the cars are banished, the barricades out and the basketball hoop, Nok Hockey table, checkerboard and assorted crafts are ready for when the kids scramble onto the Bronx block where she, too, grew up. “I think the play street should be ready for children at 8 sharp,” she said one recent morning. “They have to know we’re ready for them.”

To create a play street, 51 percent of the residents on a one-way residential block with no businesses or parking meters must sign a petition, which can be approved by the local community board upon review by police and transportation officials. The city provides some youth workers to supervise.

For full story read: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/08/02/nyregion/02ritual.html?_r=2&scp=3&sq=Play
Source: “Play Street Becomes a Sanctuary” by David Gonzalez, The New York Times, July 31, 2009
Date: August 5 2009