New York City Welcomes Car-free Saturdays in August – It’s Summer Streets Year 3
Saturday brings my favorite part of the summer --- when cars are banished from Manhattan (limited area) so cyclists, bladers and pedestrians have the run of the streets (literally). Starting August 7, from 7am -1pm, and continuing on August 14 and August 21, don your helmets, grab your bikini, and head for the streets. The route connecting East 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge, down Park Avenue onto Lafayette Street is yours for the taking with no four-wheel vehicles in sight. Part of NYC’s green initiative, Summer Streets was introduced to promote outdoor recreation and eco-friendly transportation.
At four rest stops at Uptown, Midtown, SoHo, and Foley Square points, you can take grab a free fitness class, dabble in arts and crafts. rehydrate, enjoy a concert, and more, with activities designed for all ages and special productions from Fringe NYC.
This year’s most anticipated addition – swimming -- lets you cool off in places you’d never have imagined, actual city dumpsters. MacroSea, the company that introduced last year’s dumpster swimming pools to Brooklyn is bringing their slightly off-center concept to Manhattan’s Summer Streets, again creating swimming pools out of dumpsters (clean and unused shipping containers, so no worries). Located near the Grand Central viaduct, the pools, with decks and supervising lifeguards, are open to all free of charge. Bracelets will be distributed with time-specific slots on a first-come, first-served basis.
Don’t have a bike or a helmet? Free bikes and rollerblade rentals, as well as free bicycle helmet fittings, are available at specific rest stops. But you’ll need to remember your bathing suit and towel, as these are not provided.
New this year as well, you can join Joy Ride, a group bike ride set to music. The creation of theater artist Liz Sherman with music by Grammy nominee Duncan Bridgeman, Joy Ride meanders through the city on the three Saturdays of Summer Streets starting at 11am from Foley Square. The endpoint is Central Park at Cedar Hill where you’ll picnic on the lawn. You’ll need to have a bike and a set of speakers or earbuds (you wear only one to comply with NYC laws) to enjoy the ride. To register for this special event, sign up at www.joyrideo.com. The number of riders is limited to 50 on each date.
All Summer Streets events are easily accessible by subway, N-Q-R-J-Z to Canal Street or the 4-5-6 to anywhere on the event’s route, by Metro North to Grand Central, by LIRR to Penn Station, or by bike. Just leave the cars behind, please.