A story in Sunday's editions of the Washington Post reported incorrectly that John Ray was among those D.C. city council members who rode in chauffered cars in Saturday's Recreation Department parade. In fact, Council member Ray walked the parade route. CAPTION: (NEW-LINE)Picture; SUMMER HIJINKS - Members of a joint military parachute team float by Washington Monument as part of the D.C. recreation day parade yesterday. By Larry Morris - The Washington Post; Picture 2, Marchers advertise a variety of sports offered by the Recreation Department. Photos by Larry Morris - The Washington Post; Picture 3, With the monument looming before him, a parachutist drops in.
Mayor Marlon Barry walked up Constitution Avenue yesterday at the head of the D.C. Department of Recreation's beginning of summer parade. Behind him there were beauty queens, clowns, floats and a motorcade of chauffeur-driven, gray Mercedes-Benzes and gleaming black Lincon Continentals, carrying members of the district of Columbia City Council.
U.S. Park Police estimated that 50,000 people lined both sides of Constitution Avenue, stretching from Seventh to 14th streets NW. They ate icy cherry snow cones, giggled at the clowns and pointed out the politicians they knew.
"These are the people I want to talk to," said Gail Gilliard of 58th Street SE, as Council Members John Ray, Wilhelmina Rolark, Charlene Drew Jarvis and William Spaulding were driven up Constitutuon Avenue. "i'm divorced and I can't find any decent housing in this city. Either they want you to live in a dump or they just renovated it and they want$400, $450 a month for it."
When Barry had passed, Mark Kemp, 15, said, "I've been trying to call him for two weeks. I got tired of looking for a job and dealing with all these people who tell you, 'Call back, come back, we can't help you' . . . So I decided I'd go to 'the Man.' I called his office. I called his home. But either he's in conference or he's not at home . . . he hasn't returned my calls."
Susan Kelly, a staff member of the city's roving leader program, which helps teen-agers in the city's poor neighborhoods, said she was uncertain what the summer would bring to the city.
"We've tried to get jobs and activities for the young people," said Kelly, who was wearing a white sun-visor cap that identified her as a Department of Recreation employe. "But there aren't nearly enough youth services in the city . . . I guess the kids will stay frustrated this summer; they'll stay on the streets. I don't know what will happen."
Kelly's boss, William Rumsey, director of the D.C. Recreation Department who sat in the reviewing stand watching the parade, said the gasoline shortage and insufficient summer jobs for youths in the city have brought larger and larger numbers of children to recreation department facilities.
"We find the corners are loading up with children," said Rumsey, who estimated that 15 to 20 percent more children than usual are cramming into recreation department facilities since the weather became hot. "the front stoops are loaded too. Because of the gas shortage people are staying home in the city, using playgrounds, school yards, any vacant space . . ."
"I was driving to the airport at 3:30 one morning and I saw kids playing basketball at Turkey Thicket (playground on Michigan Avenue NE)," said Rumsey. "Wherever there is a streetlight and a basketball rim they have been playing all night without us doing anything, We are going to start leaving lights on so they can play."
Several of the teen-agers who were at the parade will be working for the recreation department this summer in a federal program for children from families whose incomes are below the poverty level. Those jobs start June 28, leaving many of the youths with nothing to do for the next two weeks.
"I'm kinda bored," said Kevin Harris, 14, who will start working five hours a day in two weeks at the Parkview Recreation Center off upper Georgia Avenue. "with school out and no work I'm just hanging out, playing ball. You always think you don't want to have to do anything, but I'm looking to work starting."
For many parents at the parade yesterday, the festivities provided an opportunity to see their children marching with the well known politicians.
"My daughter (Bonita) is holding the banner for the Langdon Park Recreation Center," said Evangeline Mitchell, who was sitting on the sidewalk watching the parade with her three other daughters and a friend of the family.
"We all wanted to come out and see her on her big day," she said.
In contrast to the City Council members who rode in the parade in the chauffeured cars, Ward 2 Councilman John Wilson rode a 10-speed bicycle with a large orange sign on his back that read: John Wilson, Councilman Ward 2.Council Chairman Arrington Dixon rode in an electric-powered cart.
"I don't own one (a Mercedes-Benz) said Wilson, "so why should I ride in one. Besides, I like riding bikes. It's lots of fun."
The purpose of the parade and two days of games, sky diving, and handicraft demonstration on the Mall is to let city residents know what programs are offered by the recreation department this summer. The festival continues on the Mall today from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m., with martial arts demontration, basketball games, golf-shooting contests and other games. A limited supply of hot dogs and Pepsi Cola will be given away.