Mark Your Calendars: Summer Streets Returns in August

Another summer, another edition of Summer Streets.

For the eighth year, New York’s spin on Ciclovia is coming to nearly seven miles of streets on Manhattan’s east side. For three Saturdays in August — the 1st, 8th and 15th — Park Avenue, Lafayette Street, and a portion of 72nd Street between Central Park and the Brooklyn Bridge are going car-free between 7 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Each year Summer Streets has something new as the main attraction. This time, New Yorkers will be able to ride a tube down “Slide the City,” which in a promotional video looks like a large, multi-block Slip ‘N Slide. It will be installed at Foley Square — but be warned, walk-ups are not allowed. Participants must register online in advance.

Another new addition this year: a dog run and agility course at Astor Place sponsored by the American Kennel Club. Dogs not your thing? Maybe try riding a handcycle, also at Astor Place. Activities returning from previous years include a zip line and parkour workshops.

The theme this year is “accessibility.” “Whether you want to slide on water, bike, run, play soccer, take a self-guided architectural tour or play with your dog, our streets are an accessible and fun place for city residents and visitors of all ages to enjoy those activities,” Transportation Commissioner Polly Trottenberg said in a press release.

Since launching on three Saturdays in 2008, Summer Streets has not expanded to cover more streets or hours of the day. A major factor is the police presence required by NYPD. At last year’s Summer Streets announcement, Trottenberg said that cost limits the city’s ability to expand the event.

Looking for more car-free summer fun? Bronxites might also want to check out Boogie on the Boulevard, organized in part by the Bronx Museum. The event turns the center lanes of the Grand Concourse between 161st and 167th streets into car-free spaces featuring music and other programs from noon to 4 p.m. on the first three Sundays of August.

  • Alexander Vucelic

    NYPD extortation preventing this from going beyond 1 pm. That’s Pat Lynch

  • Maggie

    Is it possible to get the $ figures on how much extra the public has to pay to NYPD for their permission to hold this? It really does feel like a shakedown.

    I’d love to see this extended in so many ways. Up north of 110th Street in Manhattan, across to Broadway, and back down Broadway. Later in the day – like until 6 or 7, or even later in the evening. Last year I would have stopped and shopped at a lot more businesses along the way, except I was pressed for time to finish the walk before 1 pm.

  • errgr

    Yes, what is this “required by NYPD”??? Who’s running this city anyway, them or us?

  • Joe R.

    I’m all for having this in the fall or spring also for those people like me who can’t stand hot weather. And yes, definitely extend it all the way through the evening, perhaps even to midnight or later. Lots of people are either working when this takes place, don’t want to get up that early on their day off, or would rather come later to avoid the hottest part of the day. Why must NYC events always revolve around what’s most convenient for motorists?

  • Cold Shoaler

    Until the hours/area are extended significantly, this is basically a Manhattan event. By the time I schlep in it will be too crowded/winding down.

  • BBnet3000

    Why not hold some additional days on the FDR? Police presence could be reduced significantly because of the lack of cross streets.

    In Paris they close a riverfront highway EVERY SUNDAY YEAR ROUND. When I was there in January I didn’t see ANY cops. They just set up barriers at the onramps and come back when its over to remove them.

  • Jeff

    I said it last year and I’ll say it again this year:

    Happy people eating ice cream and riding bikes? Massive police presence.

    Angry people violently thrusting around multi-ton vehicles? Meh.

  • KeNYC2030

    For some reason, streets filled with happy people on bikes and on foot calls for a huge police presence, while streets filled with fast-moving multi-ton vehicles that kill or injure with great regularity does not. Go figure.

  • Joe R.

    Actually, they are (warning: foul language):

  • HamTech87

    I know! The heavy police presence at these events is just silly. Even sillier is the police and parks dept presence at the Bronx River Parkway’s Bicycle Sundays in Westchester. The limited dates of these events are due to the high cost of paying for all the police and staff.

  • AnoNYC

    Summer streets needs to expand dramatically and be more frequent.

  • Alicia

    Did you mean to be ironic with this clip?

    (Context, for anyone reading who hasn’t seen the movie, in this scene Denzel’s partner cop goes against him, he calls on the bystanders to kill him, and then when they don’t bother to do what he says he goes on the rant above out of frustration. Soon after this scene, he’s gunned down by Russian mobsters.)

  • Joe R.

    No ironic intentions here. This scene was just the first thing which came to mind as a response to the question of who’s running the city, particularly the line “I’m the police. I run sh*t here. You just live here.” I was actually looking for a clip with just that line but couldn’t find one.

    Thanks for providing the context. I highly recommend anyone who hasn’t seen the film to do so. Great piece of acting by Denzel Washington, although that’s usually the case in all his films.

  • Daniel

    I agree that extending the hours would allow a lot more people to make it, but this could also be extended to other major streets, Flatbush Ave, Queens Blvd, Grand Concourse, and Victory Blvd could all make for nice summer streets.

  • Joe R.

    A miserably hot day like today actually make a good case for also having something like this in fall, spring, or even winter. I was dying just taking in the garbage pails. Couldn’t imagine wanting to do anything where I would be out for a while.

  • Matthias

    I hadn’t thought of this explanation before, but it makes sense. Ending at 1pm is ridiculous. I will write to NYCDOT about this.

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