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Police Athletic League Kick-Off its 95th Year of Summer Play Streets

Published 20 July, 2009

Celebrating 95th Anniversary Year

On Tuesday, July 7, 2009, the Police Athletic League kicked off its 2009 Play Streets Program at the PAL Harlem Center, on Manhattan Avenue at 119th Street, with hundreds of PAL youngsters playing Skelly, Double Dutch jump rope, Nok Hockey, Hopscotch, Jacks, Tug-of-War and other traditional city sidewalk games. PAL children also participated in the opening ceremonieswith PAL Chairman and Manhattan District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau, PAL President John B. Osborn, New York City Police Commissioner and PAL Honorary President Raymond W. Kelly, PAL Executive Director Felix A. Urrutia Jr..

This year marked the 95th Anniversary of PAL and its Summer Play Streets Program. Children cooled off under a fire hydrant opened by PAL Chairman Robert M. Morgenthau and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly with assistance from the New York City Fire Department. In addition, The New York National Guard Counterdrug Task Force provided a portable rock climbing wall, along with drug prevention information. “PAL Play Streets are a time-honored tradition in New York City,” said Honorary PAL President and New York City Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly. “Play Streets give kids a place to have a safe and fun summer.”

PAL’s Summer Play Streets Program closes off streets and utilizes other public areas, such as playgrounds and parks, throughout New York City to provide children with safe, supervised places to enjoy outdoor summer activities. Play Streets offer sports, arts and crafts, games, music and dance. PAL is operating throughout the five boroughs this summer providing Play Streets, sports leagues including Cops & Kids teams, and day camps. Play Streets are open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and are free to all New York City children.

“Police Athletic League children are growing up in New York City neighborhoods where they face the day-to-day pressures of random violence, overcrowded schools and dangerous streets and playgrounds,” said PAL Chairman Robert M. Morgenthau. “That’s where PAL steps in to make a real difference in their lives. We serve areas of the city with little or no other recreational and educational programs. PAL’s presence in the community makes a real difference, and community leaders come to us to ask for help. PAL centers, Play Streets and sports teams show young people that the community cares about them. PAL will help any community in need of services, provided we have the funds. We can honestly say, if we had twice the money, we could spend it wisely.”

The Police Athletic League Summer Play Streets Program began in 1914. Police Commissioner Arthur Woods had a special concern for New York City children with no safe places to play. He organized a city-wide search for vacant lots which could be converted into playgrounds and set aside 29 blocks as playground blocks, where traffic was prohibited in the afternoons every day except Sunday. Public reaction to the development of Play Streets was overwhelmingly favorable. When Commissioner Woods inspected Play Streets, mothers rushed to thank him and children cheered his efforts. Each summer, Play Streets continue to be one of PAL’s most popular programs.

This year, MetLife Foundation and the May and Samuel Rudin Family Foundation are sponsoring the PAL Play Street Program. Director of the Civic Affairs Program at the MetLife Foundation, April Hawkins, also attended the opening of the 2009 Summer Play Streets program.

Click the links for coverage below.

NYPD BLOG coverage
NY1 News Coverage

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Police Athletic League

The Police Athletic League (PAL) is New York City’s largest, nonprofit, independent youth organization. Founded in 1914, PAL serves 50,000 New York City boys and girls each year with recreational, educational, cultural and social programs.PAL is the official youth agency of the New York Police Department.

Media Contacts

Andrea Kotuk, Andrea & Associates. Tel: +1 (212) 353-9585
Police Athletic League NYC. Tel: +1 (212) 477-9450