Summer Streets 2011: Play Ball

Former Mets closer John Franco, DOT Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan, and Knicks star John Starks announce the program for Summer Streets 2011. Photo: Noah Kazis

This August, Park Avenue will again be closed to motor vehicles for three Saturday mornings as part of the fourth annual Summer Streets event.

The details are largely the same as in years past: The route will run for seven miles from 72nd Street south to Foley Square from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. When asked what the Department of Transportation had learned from last year’s event, Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan simply replied, “We’ve learned that it’s wildly popular.” Last year, 60,000 New Yorkers enjoyed the car-free street each Saturday, she said.

While the main attraction hasn’t changed, a new slate of programming will be available for families to enjoy. Sports fans should appreciate the participation of the New York Knicks and Mets — record-holding Mets closer John Franco and 1990s Knicks star John Starks were on hand at the press conference announcing Summer Streets this afternoon. “Maybe you can learn a few tips about shooting a basketball from me,” Starks promised potential Summer Streets attendees. Each team will have a presence at the event but it’s not quite clear if active players will be there as well.

Also along the route will be sand sculptures, a 25-foot climbing wall, and free bicycle and rollerblade rentals.

The flagship Park Avenue Summer Streets event will be joined by 18 neighborhood “Weekend Walks,” across all five boroughs.

At this point, the only question that remains about Summer Streets is when those 60,000 people will be able to come back for a fourth or fifth car-free weekend day. The state of Massachusetts, for comparison’s sake, closes Memorial Drive, a riverfront highway in Cambridge, to cars all day every Sunday from April through November.

  • Danny G

    Oh snap John Starks!!!!!

  • Danny G

    Oh snap John Starks!!!!!

  • One station of Summer Streets 2011 should show a continuous loop of John Starks dunking on Jordan.

  • One station of Summer Streets 2011 should show a continuous loop of John Starks dunking on Jordan.

  • Mike

    It’s actually only 5.2 miles, not 7 miles.  I’ve never understood why DOT claims 7 miles.  Maybe they’re counting the Brooklyn Bridge — but then, why not count Central Park too?

  • Where’s the pool? 🙁

  • Where’s the pool? 🙁

  • Ian Dutton

    You know, it’s a disappointment when each year DOT has a press conference to announce that there will be no expansion of Summer Streets. Don’t you have press conferences to announce good news, not merely the survival of a worthy event? Now that New Yorkers are comfortable with the concept (like gay marriage, the sky did not actually fall after a few of these), why not continue expanding the scope. 

    Furthermore, the NYPD needs to get the word that they do not actually need to deploy hundreds and hundreds of officers, thus leading to the “there’s not enough money in the budget” excuse for not expanding the program, which is the excuse given to the community boards looking for expansion. We now have several years of evidence that the manpower levels have been overkill.

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