NYPD officials and members of the Police Athletic League (PAL) cut a ribbon on a new play area for Harlem children.
Since the dawn of the deadly COVID-19 pandemic confined New Yorkers to their homes, communities all across the five boroughs have been scrambling for more open streets for which to give residents–especially children–access to safer, outside spaces.
Sponsored by the Office of the Special Narcotics Prosecutor and in partnership with the NYPD, and PAL, a nonprofit organization that provides recreational activities annually, set up a wonderland of toys and activities along the roadway on West 124th Street between Lenox Avenue and Marcus Garvey Park West, kicking off a fun safe haven during the summer months.
“Welcome to the Police Athletic League 28th Precinct second annual Playstreet opening ceremony,” Inspector Andre Brown of the 28th Precinct told hundreds of excited children who sat cross-legged to watch the proceedings.
Children ages six and up were invited to the ceremony and were given the opportunity to participate in a wide array of games, such as Giant Jenga, Giant Connect 4, Nok Hockey, Mancala, checkers, chess, jump rope and hula-hoop and more. While younger Children enjoyed tossing bean bags and drawing, older children showed off their basketballs and football skills, all played out on the closed roadway.
Executive Director of PAL Carlos Velazquez challenged the children to guess when the first Playstreet opened, to which some youngsters incorrectly guessed the year 2001. Velazquez surprised them when he stated that Playstreet began over a century ago in the year 1914.
While Playstreets officially launched last week, these areas will be open Monday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
In addition to the ribbon-cutting initiating Play Streets in Harlem, PAL will also host their Summer Opening ceremony at 441 Manhattan Avenue, which will include their traditional opening of a fire hydrant to commemorate the collective opening of Playstreets throughout New York City.