Street Lab’s PLAY NYC program enables safe, hands-free play for children on closed-off streets in high-need neighborhoods. The program builds on our work at NYC play streets since 2013, and was designed from the ground up with industrial designer Hannah Berkin-Harper in response to COVID-19. The program launched in July 2020 in conjunction with the launch of the city’s first official Play Street Program. Program elements include:

  • A touch-free obstacle course with colorful barriers, hurdles, balance beams that can be arranged in any configuration and combined with chalk drawings for custom challenges;
  • Street chalk and layouts for creating engaging, appropriately-distanced zones for street games, and physical activities (maze, race track);
  • Signage guiding people through the installation and encouraging all to maintain a safe distance;
  • Custom-designed benches stored on a rolling dolly in a compact stack; and
  • Street Lab staff to oversee all.

We’re determined to make a safe place for learning and play, so kids in these neighborhoods don’t fall behind. Thanks to SPIN for early support. And now, we’re making our PLAY kit for other cities too!

NYC Mayor announcing Street Lab at 2020 Play Streets:

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PLAY NYC Design Partner:

Hannah Berkin-Harper

PLAY NYC Fabrication Partner:

Bancroft Design

PLAY NYC Founding Sponsors:

Lead Sponsor 2020

NYC COVID-19 Response and Impact Fund at The New York Community Trust

Blog posts about PLAY NYC:

Street Lab in Times Square with NYC DOT

Street Lab in Times Square with NYC DOT

Yesterday we landed in Times Square with our PLAY and READ programs to help announce 2022 Car-Free Earth Day (April 23) in partnership with NYC Dept. of Transportation.

We’ll be expanding our longtime partnership with NYC DOT in 2022—stay tuned!

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