Traffic court; Play streets

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Fri Jun 25 02:55:48 UTC 1999


     I work in a form of Traffic Court that allows me to observe the dialects
of New York City's changing and diverse population.
     From the OED:

_traffic court_ orig. U.S., a court of law with jurisdiction over motoring
1919 _Evening Star_ (Washington, D.C.) 11 Mar, 24/1 Approval was given last the establish a *traffic court in this city.

     The idea probably began in New York City.  The NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 21 May
1915, pg. 8, col. 4, "A Traffic Court," referred to a story a few days


    During the summer, some streets are closed off so children can play.
Some people read the permanent signs, don't see the temporary "Play Street"
signs, and eventually come to me.
    From the OED:

_play-street_ a street closed to traffic so that children can play in it.
1937 C. V. GODFREY _Roadsense for Children_ viii 64 Closing certain lesser
thoroughfares to vehicular traffic and reserving them for the exclusive use
of how *Play Streets came into being.

     This is from the NEW YORK TRIBUNE, 17 May 1915, pg. 6, col. 3:

     _"Play Streets"_
     In the establishment of what are called "play streets" the avowed
endeavor of the People's Institute is to give "as free a rein as possible to
the individuality of the child."  It is an interesting experiment, and if
streets enough can be turned to account it may prove of inestimable value.
The number of recreation grounds in the city is at present undoubtedly too
limited, and as summer approaches it becomes more and more apparent that what
we need is not so much a free expression of juvenile individuality as a
limitation of that expression to a suitable area in such sort that it may not
interfere unduly with other and no less necessary activities.
     There can be no doubt about the need of such reasonable restriction in
the neighborhood of Washington Square, where the latest of these streets has
been opened, and the secretary of the institute, Miss Ruth Robinson, is
probably right in assuming that it will be unnecessary to provide the
children with an instructor "to teach them how to play." (...)

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