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Who needs traffic signals when car-free Summer Streets return to New York this August? It’s a chance to step out and enjoy over eight miles of pedestrian-friendly city blocks, pedal away on select free Citi Bikes and sample plentiful public events on some of the warmest weekends of the year.

Summer Streets Grand Central Terminal
Summer Streets lets you reach places like Grand Central Terminal that are usually only accessible by car. Photo Phil O’Brien

In a two-mile expansion from previously designated Summer Streets, on Saturdays August 6, 13 and 20 from 7am to 1pm, there will be no cars along Park Avenue, Lafayette Street, and Centre Street, covering city blocks from the Manhattan entrance of the Brooklyn Bridge to East Harlem. In addition to the extra outdoor real estate, the Summer Streets program will offer free Citi Bikes with code SUMMER22 on August 6. 

“As we continue to deal with worsening heatwaves and the other effects of climate change, programs like Summer Streets showcase what mobility with greener modes like walking and cycling can look like in New York City,” said Manhattan Borough President Mark Levine. “I am thrilled to see a continuous car-free stretch extend from the Brooklyn Bridge to East Harlem and also to see some of our borough’s most prized Open Streets receive additional programming.”

There are giveaways, activities and performances at rest stops along the entire route, with a number of options for those who like to stay local. The Midtown Rest Stop from E51st to E52nd Street from Park Avenue to Lexington will host a variety of events, including a free bike valet provided by Transportation Alternatives for those pedaling over from the West Side, ZING! Kids will hold free movement and exercise classes throughout the series and to quench your thirst there’s NYC tap water provided by the Department of Environmental Protection. 

Summer Streets New York 2021
You can explore around Grand Central Terminal walking and on two wheels during Summer Streets. Photo: Phil O’Brien

Stationary activities include kid-friendly arts and culture workshops at the Midtown Rest Stop focusing on native planting from Glam Gardener, marching band hat making with HONK NYC, watercolor painting for beginners with the Art Students League of New York, make your own Ojo de Dios (a woven spiritual symbol originating from Latin America) with the Urban Studio Unbound, a Tangram challenge from the Museum of Chinese in America and recycled art making with Green Inspired Art.

All three Summer Street Saturdays will feature free rest stop entertainment, including performances in Midtown from Sirens of Gotham, the Calpulli Mexican Dance Company, the Niall O’Leary School of Irish Dance, the The Afro-Latineers, the Metropolitan Horn Authority and more! For the full citywide activity schedule, check out the NYC Summer Streets website. 

“Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, New York City’s Open Streets program provided respite to New Yorkers stuck indoors due to the lockdown. But well before Open Streets, New Yorkers have enjoyed the Summer Streets, blocking off miles of vehicular traffic to only pedestrian traffic,” said US Representative Carolyn B. Maloney (who currently represents the Midtown rest stop area and is in the midst of a contentious primary campaign for the redrawn 12th District). “I am thrilled that New York City is expanding the program for another successful season of non-vehicular trafficked streets. This provides an opportunity for New Yorkers to experience our city like never before and stay safe and healthy outside.”

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