The Police Athletic League (PAL), one of the city’s largest youth nonprofit organizations which has been consistently providing opportunities for local children and youth since 1914, kicked off its 2019 Playstreets season on Thursday, July 11, and will be running through August 9. 

Through the Summer Playstreets program, children can engage in a wealth of activities while parents can feel at ease knowing that their children are in a safe and supervised environment. All Playstreets are supervised by a site director, an arts specialist and a sports specialist. 

This year, Brooklyn kids have six locations across the borough, including in Brownsville, Bedford Stuyvesant and Bushwick, to partake in the summer fun. Playstreets activities include fitness challenges, nutrition education and basketball clinics and tournaments.

Photo credit: Police Athletic League

Playstreet basketball clinics take place Monday through Thursday and are open to boys and girls ages 5-17. Basketball clinics are split into three levels: biddies/pee wee, novice/junior and varsity. Biddies/pee wee clinics are available for children ages 5-8 and focus on fundamental skills such as footwork, layups, dribbling and passing. Novice/junior clinics are open to children ages 9-12 and focus on the development of skills taught in the biddies/pee wee clinic while incorporating defense strategies, rebounding and more advanced concepts. 

Children ages 13-17 can participate in varsity clinics, which cover higher-level team concepts, drills and age-appropriate skill focus. Competitions, including three-point/ free throw contests and fitness obstacle courses, will also take place. Additionally, special themed 5-on-5 basketball tournaments are held every Thursday.

Other featured activities include soccer, double dutch, tie-dying, mosaics, bracelet making and outdoor board games.

To facilitate these activities, the program closes off certain streets and utilizes public spaces like parks, playgrounds and also extends its initiative to selected New York City homeless shelters, providing homeless youth with much-needed playtime.

The youngsters also learn how to identify members of their local NYPD precinct as well as their local elected officials, fostering strong relationships and an increased sense of community. PAL has redesigned their summer schedule into a measurable, goal-oriented program with set objectives and performance targets. In addition, the program offers enhanced activities with a crime prevention curriculum that was developed by the National Crime Prevention Council.

Photo credit: Police Athletic League

In Brooklyn, there are six designated Playstreets locations:

  • Dr. Green Park, 500 Mother Gaston Boulevard
  • Howard Playground, 60 Glenmore Avenue
  • Bushwick Houses, 372 Bushwick Avenue
  • Tompkins Houses, 77 Tompkins Avenue
  • Fox Playground, 5324 Avenue H
  • Coffey Park, 31 Centre Mall

Playstreets are open Monday through Thursday, 11:00am to 4:00pm, through August 9, and are free to all New York City children. At the end of the summer, Playstreets culminate in a Borough Day in each of the five boroughs – a free celebration in a public park for local children and their families to eat, play and bond.

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Andrea Leonhardt

“Made in Germany,” Andrea Leonhardt is the managing editor for BK Reader. Andrea holds a bachelor’s degree in political science, with minors in American studies and education, and a master’s...

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