Thomas Jefferson Park

The Daily Plant : Tuesday, April 28, 2015

NYC Parks Street Games In East Harlem Brings Back Classic Games Of The 60’S And 70’S

Photo by Malcolm Pinckney

On Saturday, April 25, NYC Parks and Disney hosted the 8th Annual Street Games event, a celebration of outdoor sports and classic games from the 60s and 70s, in Thomas Jefferson Park on 114th Street and First Avenue. NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined Council Member Melissa Mark-Viverito along with ABC News anchor Rob Nelson in welcoming this annual event.

“These classic games of stickball, double-dutch and pogo sticks are a great way to get outside and stay fit, all while having fun.” said Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “I’d like to thank Disney and all our sponsors for helping to present these games to today’s generation of youngsters and we’re glad to see that so many people joined us to play at Thomas Jefferson Park.”

New Yorkers young – and young at heart – enjoyed the Classic Street Games zone and got moving with stickball, pogo sticks, hula hoops, double-dutch, yo-yos, and a skateboarding clinic.

The event closed 114th Street and Pleasant Avenue just north of the Park to vehicle traffic so kids could participate in learning to ride a bike, street hockey, and wheelchair basketball. The Red Bulls hosted a Skills Challenge on the soccer fields and the New York Knicks brought their groove truck and was joined by John Wallace. Street Games was more than just games. The event was celebrated with live music and entertainment – including performances from Dance Theater of Harlem.

Street Games 2015 was supported by Disney Magic of Healthy Living, the company’s commitment to partner with parents and inspire kids to lead healthier lifestyles. Presented by Disney, together with its businesses and affiliates (including ABC-7, ESPN Deportes, and The Walt Disney Studios), Street Games was also sponsored by the New York Knicks, the New York Red Bulls, Cabot Creamery, Fit & Fun Playscapes, Movement Creative, New York Empire, and The L Magazine.

NYC Parks produces a series of annual, large-scale festivals that provide unique, outdoor experiences for thousands of New Yorkers year-round. In addition to Street Games in the Spring, these include Adventures NYC (Summer), and Winter Jam NYC (Winter).


On Saturday, April 25, 2015, NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined Congressman Charles Rangel, City Council Member Mark Levine, President of Friends of Morningside Park Brad Taylor, Community Board 9 Parks Committee Chair Joel Mentor, Dr. Olajide Williams of the Harlem Hospital Center, local fitness experts and community members to cut the ribbon on the new fitness trails at Morningside Park as part of Harlem’s Earth Day celebration. Called a “Green Gym”, the park now features instructional banners, fitness map brochures and distance markers, from 114th Street to 123rd Street.

In 2014, Friends of Morningside Park received a grant from the Partnership for a Healthier NYC for its Green Gym proposal to increase physical activity in the park. In partnership with Harlem Park to Park, Con Edison, Harlem Hospital Center and the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, NYC Parks and Friends of Morningside Park were able to create fitness map brochures that show locations throughout the park that are ideal for certain types of exercises, specifically those that involve using existing park features such as benches. In addition to the map, specially created banners were attached to light poles in the park next to the exercise locations with information on how to do the exercises. Brad Taylor worked with local fitness instructor Nancy Bruning to determine which exercises to include.

“Resources like the Morningside Park Green Gym fitness trails offer New Yorkers an opportunity to get outside and exercise in the diverse landscape of Harlem’s beautiful parks,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to the new banners and brochures generously funded by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control and the Harlem Hospital Center’s Walk it Out! program, as well as the dedicated partnership of the Friends of Morningside Park, park-goers will enjoy the park in a whole new way. The Green Gym is a unique way to keep our community engaged in staying healthy and fit, and most importantly, it’s free and open to everyone.”

To further develop the Green Gym, Friends of Morningside Park also worked with Harlem Hospital’s Walk It Out!, a volunteer-led program that engages senior citizens in regular indoor and outdoor walks throughout Harlem, to help them lead healthier lives. Representatives from the Walk It Out! Program suggested including distance markers, along with informational banners, so people walking along the exercise trail could see how far they walked. The Walk It Out! Program contributed funds for these banners.

Morningside Park is named for the sunny east-facing cliff that defines its western edge. The hills, steps, and benches make the park a “Green Gym”—a great place to be physically active, while soaking up nature and spectacular views. The fitness map provides park-goers with three routes for walking or running and 12 exercises and stretches requiring no exercise equipment. Park-goers can explore the park’s playgrounds, basketball courts, jogging track, baseball diamonds and lawns for playing catch, Frisbee, tag. In addition to the many staircases, park-goers can use the park overlooks along Morningside Drive as mini-gyms: nice out-of-the way places to exercise solo or in a small group.


"If you smile when nobody else is around, you really mean it."

Andy Rooney


Directions to Thomas Jefferson Park

Know Before You Go

Recreation CentersThomas Jefferson Recreation Center

As of June 15, 2021, Thomas Jefferson Recreation Center is open on a limited basis. Our recreation centers are currently only open to patrons with an active membership as of March 2020. We are not registering new members at this time.

Was this information helpful?