New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today announced the return of Summer Streets—the sixth annual event which opens nearly seven miles of car-free streets in Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park for the first three Saturdays in August from 7 a.m.-1 p.m., and the re-launch of Weekend Walks events in 24 neighborhoods citywide throughout the summer. This year’s Summer Streets features “Voice Tunnel,” an interactive art installation featuring 360 spotlights and 180 audio speakers throughout the length of the Park Avenue tunnel from 33rd Street to 40th Street, the first time the tunnel has been opened to pedestrians. New York City’s signature summertime event also includes the return of the popular 165-foot-long, 25-foot-high zip line, a 25-foot-tall rock climbing wall and City Picnic area, and new additions including a mini-golf course and misting station at 51st Street and Park Avenue and a host of other new, free, family-friendly activities along the route. DOT also announced the extension of car-free hours on Central Park’s drives north of 72nd Street through Labor Day, when those north-south roads will remain open exclusively to pedestrians and bike riders. The park’s transverse roads will remain open to crosstown traffic, as will the park drives south of 72nd Street according to their current schedules.
“Summer Streets lets New Yorkers use their streets in entirely new ways and this year the adventure continues both high above and down below the street,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “For decades the Park Avenue Tunnel has been known only to motorists, but for three Saturdays this August, it will become a gallery offering a fresh look at a part of the city hidden from view.”
Public Art at Summer Streets
“Voice Tunnel,” an interactive light and sound installation by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, will transform the .4-mile Park Avenue tunnel with 360 theatrical spotlights that produce columns of light along the tunnel’s walls. Pedestrians will be able to influence the intensity of each light, which is determined by the voice recordings of participants who speak into a special intercom at the tunnel’s center. Louder speech increases the lights’ brightness proportionally, creating a Morse-like code of flashes throughout the tunnel. Once a recording is finished, the computer plays it back as a loop and on 180 loud speakers temporarily placed in the tunnel as participants walk through. At any given time, the tunnel is illuminated by the voices of 100 participants.
Summer Streets also will offer Art Within One Mile, a self-guided public art-based walking tour with points along and within one mile of the route marked by a series of wayfinding signs. The signs were developed by artist Bundith Phunsombatlert and let participants unlock a treasure trove of permanent and temporary public art. In addition, AIA Center for Architecture and Culture Now developed an “Architectural Walking Tour,” inviting New Yorkers and visitors alike to download an app or a map that highlights architectural gems along the Summer Streets route.
The “Course of Emotions” is a miniature golf course designed by artist Risa Puno that will be set up at the Uptown rest stop. “CoolStop” will also be at this location and is designed by Chat Travieso. The artist is constructing a sculptural misting system from PVC-piping, which resembles a splash. The installation will attach to hydrants, creating a mist that will cool down participants while they soak in all the activities along the Summer Streets route.
Summer Streets Activities
As part of this year’s activities, the zip line returns to the Foley Square rest stop at Duane and Center streets. Longtime Summer Streets sponsor Crunch, which will host dance and fitness classes on 12th Street along the route. The REI-sponsored climbing wall and “Adventure Zone” at the SoHo rest stop at Spring and Lafayette streets will also return. Whole Foods continues its tradition as host of the City Picnic at the Midtown rest stop at 25th Street and Park Avenue, providing free, healthy food samples, demonstrations and other activities.
The NFL’s Play60 station will feature a range of sports-themed activities, including a football toss at the Uptown rest stop at 51st Street and Park Avenue. Downtown at the Astor Place rest stop at Astor Place and Lafayette Street, various fitness classes will be led courtesy of Reebok. Asphalt Green is sponsoring sports-inspired activities at Foley Square. Newcomer Banana Boat joins this year’s lineup as a sponsor, with family-friendly summertime activities at the Uptown rest stop as well. The Uptown rest stop also will feature musicians organized through MTA Make Music NY and Make Music NY. At Foley Square, family programming will be available throughout the day as well as free yoga classes by the NYC Parks Department and parkour demonstrations by Movement Creative.
DOT also will provide free bike helmets for adults and children at the Uptown rest stop, building on the agency’s efforts to encourage safe biking habits. DOT also worked with partners in the trucking industry to bring back the popular “Truck’s Eye View” safety education program. Children and adults are invited to speak with instructors, climb into a parked truck and gain first-hand knowledge of a truck driver’s view of the roadway. The activity teaches participants to avoid blind spots and give other tips to stay safe on the streets.
Summer Streets 2013 Route
Citi Bike will have staff on hand at 51st Street to offer Citi Bike demonstrations and host an informational booth with opportunities to learn more about bike share and becoming a member. Citi Bike stations along the route will be staffed with Citi Bike ambassadors who can answer questions and assist with the purchase of daily passes. Citi Bike is giving 150 free day passes as incentives to people to sign up to be Summer Streets volunteers.
Key cross-town streets will remain open to vehicles. No Parking regulations will be in effect from 11 p.m. beginning the Friday evening before each event until 2 p.m. the day of the event. Street closures will begin at 6 a.m., with streets reopening at 1:30 p.m. on the day of each event. More information can be found at nyc.gov/summerstreets.
Central Park Drives
Beginning Monday, July 8, Central Park’s drives north of 72nd Street will be car-free for the remainder of the summer, greatly enhancing access for pedestrians, bike riders and all park-goers. The West Drive is currently open to motor vehicle traffic from 8 to 10 a.m. and the East Drive from 3 to 7 p.m. on weekdays only and they are closed to traffic all other times. This two-month expansion follows numerous community requests to expand car-free access to the park and is possible because of decreasing car volumes in recent years on both the park drives and adjacent roadways. Pedestrians and bicyclists on the park drives outnumber cars by 3 to 1 during the summer, when citywide traffic volumes are at their lowest, and local avenues are expected to see traffic volumes comparable to what they already see in other months. DOT will monitor the closure until limited hours return on Sept. 3.
DOT is once again partnering with community groups in every borough to present Weekend Walks. These community-requested temporary pedestrian streets expand the doorsteps to local businesses and cultural institutions while promoting healthy, safe, fun recreation. Each event creates high-quality space in commercial districts. Hosted by local community groups and merchants, each Weekend Walks event will feature a range of family-friendly activities, from music performances to arts and crafts to classes and youth programming. Altogether, there are 24 Weekend Walk locations across the city, each providing unique, car-free street experiences ranging from one to 10 blocks long. To date, Weekend Walks have already taken place in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, organized by WHEDco (Women’s Housing and Economic Development) in the Bronx; Neighbors Allied for Good Growth in Brooklyn and the Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) in Manhattan, among other neighborhood partners. More information is available at nyc.gov/weekendwalks.
Upcoming Weekend Walks Events 2013
- Weekend Walks on Burnside Avenue: West Burnside Avenue between Davidson Avenue and Jerome Avenue; July 20, July 27, August 3 (Saturdays) at noon–5:30 pm. Hosted by Davidson Community Center.
- 204th Street Weekend Walks: East 204th Street between Bainbridge Avenue and Decatur Avenue; August 4, August 11 (Sundays) at noon–6:00 pm. Hosted by Bronx Community Board 7.
- Grand Street Weekend Walks: Grand Street between Bushwick Avenue and Manhattan Avenue; July 13, July 20 (Saturdays) at 2:00 pm–8:00 pm. Hosted by Grand Street BID.
- South Slope Weekend Walks: Fifth Avenue between 12th Street and 18th Street; July 19, July 26 (Fridays) at 5:00 pm-9:00 pm. Hosted by the Park Slope Fifth Avenue BID.
- Summer Stroll, 80th-90th Streets: Third Avenue between 80th Street and 90th Street; July 19, July 26 (Fridays) at 6:00 pm–10:00 pm. Hosted by Merchants of Third Avenue.
- Summer Stroll, 69th-80th Streets: Third Avenue between 69th Street and 80th Street; August 9, August 16 (Fridays) at 6:00 pm–10:00 pm. Hosted by Merchants of Third Avenue.
- TAMA Summer Fest Weekend Walks III: Tompkins Avenue between Hancock Street and Putnam Avenue; July 27, August 3 (Saturdays) at 2:30–5:30 pm. Hosted by Bridge Street Development Corporation.
- Southside Weekend Walks: Havemeyer Street between South 4th Street and Grand Street; September 21, September 28 (Saturdays) at noon – 5:00 pm. Hosted by El Puente.
- Summer Space: Montague Street between Clinton Street and Hicks Street; September 15, September 22 (Sundays) at noon–5:00 pm. Hosted by Montague Street BID.
- Children’s Halloween Spectacular: St. Marks Avenue/Sixth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue; October 20, October 27 (Sundays) at noon–4:00 pm Hosted by North Flatbush Avenue BID.
- Hamilton Heights – Sugar Hill Annual Cultural Festival: Hamilton Place between West 142nd Street and 143rd Street; July 13 (Saturday) at 11:00 am – 5:00 pm. Hosted by the West Harlem Community Preservation Organization (WHCPO).
- Manhattan Valley Family Days: Amsterdam Avenue between West 106th Street and West 110th Street; September 8, September 15 (Sundays) at 11:00 am–5:00 pm. Hosted by the Columbus Amsterdam BID.
- Uptown Pops: Hamilton Place between West 136th Street and West 137th Street; September 14, September 21, September 28 (Saturdays) at 11:00 am–3:00 pm. Hosted by the West Harlem Art Fund.
- Sunnyside Strolls: 46th Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard; July 27, August 3, August 10, August 17 (Saturdays) at noon–7:00 pm. Hosted by Sunnyside Shines BID.
- Astoria Park Shore Fest: Shore Boulevard between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard; August 4, August 11, August 18 (Sundays) at 1:00 pm–6:30 pm. Hosted by Astoria Park Alliance.
- Bayside Village September: Bell Boulevard between 39th Avenue and 41st Avenue; September 28 (Saturday) at noon – 5:00 pm. Hosted by the Bayside Village BID.
- Van Duzer Days: Van Duzer Street between Wright Street and Beach Street; July 13, July 20 (Saturdays) at noon–7:00 pm. Hosted by Staten Island Collaboration (SIcoLAB).