Streets In Play: Katrina Thomas, NYC Summer 1968

Friday, August 19, 2022

9:00 a.m.5:00 p.m.

This event repeats every weekday between 6/24/2022 and 9/2/2022.

Please note: This event has already taken place. Please use the Search options on the right to find upcoming events.

See New York City in 1968 through the lens of photographer Katrina Thomas with “Streets in Play." Curated from the NYC Parks Photo Archive collection, the exhibition features more than 40 of Thomas’ photographs of “Playstreets” or residential blocks closed to traffic and equipped with recreational and cultural activities. With dynamic black-and-white images that document carless streets and children engaged in inventive and self-directed forms of play, the 1968 images speak to present-day questions of whom and what purposes city streets might serve.

Katrina Thomas (1927-2018) was hired to document Mayor Lindsay’s 1968 Task Force initiatives and later donated those photographs to NYC Parks. Her images were commissioned to use for publicity, fundraising appeals, and official reports, and intended to offer visual proof that the city was compensating for a lack of investment in low-income, racially segregated neighborhoods. But Thomas’ exceptional eye transcended the task. Her photographs represent one of the most complicated yet revealing collections of imagery in the Photo Archives—shaped by the tension between the demands of a commissioned project and Thomas’ personal perspective.  

Curated by Rebekah Burgess, NYC Parks Photo Archivist, and Mariana Mogilevich, historian of architecture and urbanism and Editor in Chief, Urban Omnibus.

Please note: Mask-wearing is required to enter the Arsenal Gallery, and guests are required to sign in. Groups of five or more people can call (212) 360-8114 or email to pre-register. The gallery is closed on federal holidays. 

Image: Katrina Thomas. Lower East Side, Playstreets, 1968. NYC Parks Photo Archive.


Arsenal in Central Park
830 Fifth Avenue
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Location Details:
Arsenal Gallery, 3rd Floor



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Art & Antiquities,

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(212) 360-8114

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Art, History

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