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Streetplay acknowledgements

Boy under car
The original X-Game.
We want to thank Amanda Dargan and Steven Zeitlin for their tremendous contribution to the subject of play and for their permission to showcase their book City Play on

City Play was written as part of the City Play project, co-sponsored by the Queens Council on the Arts, Inc., City Lore: The New York Center for Urban Folk Culture, and the Museum of the City of New York. We thank all these folks for making City Play a reality!

Acknowledgements (from City Play)

The study and appreciation of play has run up against what Brian Sutton-Smith calls "the triviality barrier," and we want to thank all of those who helped us over it. Robert Baron at the New York State Council on the Arts and Sally Yerkovich at the National Endowment for the Humanities believed in the project early on. Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett, our brilliant and gentle advisor, raised the analytical plane of the project, and cleared the intellectual hurdles. Jean Weiss, former director of Queens Council on the Arts, and Constance Evans, its current director, gave us the freedom to pursue the project. Without these individuals, City Play would have never happened.

We also want to thank the staff at the Museum of the City of New York, where "City Play" was on view as an exhibition from May 1988 through February 1989. In particular, we want to thank Associate Director Rick Beard for his insights and comments on the manuscript, and Jane Hirshkowitz, the toy curator, who described herself as the "kiosk," but who in fact was a thoughtful collaborator on the project. Liz Smith, Bonnie Yokelson, and Pam Myers also contributed creatively to the project.

Additional field and historical research for City Play was conducted by Margalit Fox, Joseph Sciorra, Sheldon Posen, Nancy Groce, and Susan Slyomovics. We also would like to thank our consultants and informal advisors, Sally Banes, Kate Rinzler, Susan Stewart, Gerald Davis, and Yi-Fu Than; in particular, we want to thank Brian Sutton-Smith, Bernard Mergen, and David Nasaw whose work is a testament to play as an activity joyously enacted not on the margins, but at the heart of culture.

We are grateful to the New York Folklore Society, which cosponsored the City Play Project in its early years; our editor at Rutgers University Press, Karen Reeds, who saw the potential in this project for a book; Marilyn Campbell, the managing editor, who shepherded it through copyediting and production; Barbara Kopel, the production manage; and John Romer, the book designer; Mary Scherbatskoy at ARTS, Inc., for sharing her collections with us; Roberta Singer for her common sense and thoughtful reading; and Wendy Wolf (Sargeant Slaughter) for her gentle critique. The City Play Project was sponsored by the Queens Council on the Arts and City Lore with public funding from the New York State Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the L. J. Skaggs and Mary C. Skaggs Foundation. City Play commemorates the 100th anniversary of the American Folklore Society, which was founded in 1888/1889.

As a husband-and-wife team, we have been inspired by the work of Oscar and Esther Hirschman, who wandered these same New York City streets in the 1930s collecting children's games and compiled a 1,000-page manuscript on the subject under the name Ethel and Oliver Hale, now in the collection at the New York Public Library. Perhaps like the other couples--Iona and Peter Opie, Herbert and Mary Knapp, Ethel and Oliver Hale--who have collected children's games, we have used this as an opportunity to look at our neighborhood, our city, and our culture through a child's eyes, and to see both adults and children in all the endlessly rich manifestations of their playfulness. To all the children whose playful moments we captured on film or tape, and to the adults whose reminiscences we recorded, and the folklorists and historians whose work we drew upon, we, rather than tip our hat, throw it into the air--let's see who can catch it!

Amanda Dargan and Steven Zeitlin
New York City
December 1989

Taken from City Play, copyright ©1990. Used with permission by

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