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Queens Play Street

Jackson Heights is in the beginning stages of a great experiment - 78th Street between 34th Ave and Northern Boulevard is being closed for twenty consecutive weeks to provide a Play Street for children and their families!

Many neighborhood groups, organizations and the NYC Department of Transportation came together to implement this trial which is designed to enhance the already limited amount of public space available in Jackson Heights. Eventually there are plans to move the local green market into the space to allow for even more opportunities for interaction and programming. For the first week Bike New York came out to teach children how to ride a bike.

Streetfilms plans to revisit this program in the Fall to see how it progresses and expands.

[intro music]

Helen Ho: [00:25] Jackson Heights, if you haven’t heard, is probably the district in New York City with the least amount of park space ever.

Will Sweeney: [00:34] So it’s sort of a natural fit to have a play street, you know, an area where people can come and enjoy the public space and not… and do it safely, and not have to worry about, you know, cars and trucks and stuff.

Speaker: [00:46] I mean there’s so much pressure on this park here, we have a lot of kids here and this is all the space we have, you know.

Helen Ho: [00:52] We have to think of creative ways to expand our park, you know. And so this is what 78th Street, our play street today really is. You know it’s going to be an extension of Travers Park.

Will Sweeney: [01:00] There are no residential buildings on this spot. There’s a school on one side and there’s a park on the other side, so it’s sort of a natural fit.

Andy Wiley-Schwartz: [01:06] It would have any major impact traffic wise in the neighbourhood, and it would have a major impact public life wise and happiness wise for the neighbourhood.

Will Sweeney: [01:13] The weather’s incredible today. We had great turnout for our teaching your kid to ride a bike workshop that we’re doing with Bike New York.

Emilia Crotty: [01:22] Bike New York is a non-profit. We provide education and events to get more people cycling in New York City, and we’re here today teaching kids how to ride a bike for the first time. This season Bike New York has taught about 750 kids and we’re hoping that by the end of the season, by the Fall, we’ll get to about a thousand little New Yorkers riding for the first time.

Will Sweeney: [01:44] It’s great. You know we have a green market, people can buy food and they can come and sit and enjoy it. We want to learn from what people want to do in the street and see what happens. We don’t have to worry about cars.

Helen Ho: [01:54] People need places to run, they need places to play, you know, and this is providing another outlet to do that.


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  • http://adarkbarker.wordpress.com Kelly

    nice work, Robin - kinda makes me want to go teach a kid to ride a bike :)

  • http://aseachange.net A Sea Change

    what a fabulous idea. we totally need at least one street like that in every neighborhood not close to a park.

  • Momita

    Great video! I agree it would be so nice to have this all over the city to get all ages out and enjoying open spaces.

  • http://www.livablestreets.com/people/ThreeCheers ThreeCheers

    Great work, People. Neat idea creatively described and presented.

  • Dave and Sonie

    Your name on the marquee! We need to visit...with our bikes. Good job Robin!