New York City children playing on car-free streets in the summer of ’68

1960s: Days of Rage

“The city’s Parks Department opened a new photography exhibition at Central Park’s Arsenal Gallery that displays more than 40 archived photographs from the department’s collection. Called ‘Streets In Play: Katrina Thomas, NYC Summer 1968,’ the exhibit features images taken by the late photographer Katrina Thomas, who in 1968 was hired by NYC Mayor John Lindsay and tasked with capturing the city’s summer initiative, ‘Playstreets,’ in which residential blocks were closed to vehicles and instead equipped for recreational activity. Lindsay originally commissioned the photos for publicity, and to show proof that the city had been ‘compensating for a lack of investment in low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods,’ according to a press release. Thomas’ keen eye and affinity for capturing natural-looking moments brought to life ‘a child’s-eye view of the possibilities for play and delight in less-than-hospitable environments.’ Many high-profile photographers of the time had been capturing life on the city streets, aiming…

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