Play Street

Play streets are car-free streets that provide space for active play, recreation, and social and physical activity for children who do not have access to park space nearby. Community groups coordinate play streets during the summer months to create needed recreational space, and schools can host play streets during the school year when there is construction, playground renovation, or insufficient space for recess.

78th Street, Queens


  • Activates public space
  • Promotes healthy lifestyles
  • Creates free recreational opportunities for children

Scope and Eligibility

  • Summer Play Street: Permitted July 1 – August 31 for up to six weeks, Monday – Friday, 8 AM – 5 PM
  • School Play Street: Permitted during the school year; applicant must be affiliated with adjacent school
  • Appropriate for dead-end streets, short blocks, stretches fewer than four blocks in length, and T-intersections
  • Cannot have two-way traffic, high traffic volumes, commercial establishments, scaffolding, construction, tripping hazards, or other safety concerns; or be on a bus route or truck route, adjacent to a hospital, or near a park or playground that could accommodate recreational activities
  • Organizers must program continuous activities such as games, sports, crafts, and performances
  • Adults must be present for supervision at all times
  • No fundraising, promotion, or sale of goods or services is permitted


  • Summer Play Street: Applications due to SAPO via email by May 1, including an on-site inspection of the block and petition of signatures from block residents
  • School Play Street: Interested applicants must contact the local DOT Borough Commissioner's Office by June 1 (fall term) or November 1 (spring term) for assistance in applying and securing required Community Board and NYPD approvals
  • DOT Borough Engineers review proposed play streets and may be involved in implementation

Recommendations and Best Practices

  • Make contact early with the relevant Community Board and NYPD Precinct to obtain their approval of the proposed street closure
  • Applications are processed on a rolling basis by SAPO, if summer play streets, or DOT Borough Commissioners, if school play streets; submit early as there may be a limit on play street approvals in each Community Board district
  • Organizers should develop a safety plan that includes proper barricades and vehicles parked on the block
  • Plan ahead and work with community partners to ensure sufficient programming is provided for the duration of the play street