The Department of Transportation’s NYC Summer Streets 2012

Manhattan's Park Avenue closed for running, walking and biking during Summer Streets.

Frankly, we wish every Saturday could be an NYC Summer Streets Saturday, with the city’s great boulevards closed to vehicular traffic, and wide open for strolling and cycling and skating and whatever else you’d like to to do in the middle of Park Avenue New York and/or Lafayette Street New York. BUT, with that said, if we can’t have all 52 Saturdays for no-car fun, we are definitely grateful for the three NYC Summer Streets 2012 days coming up, starting this Saturday, August 4, and continuing on August 11, and then August 18. This is the fifth summer in a row the city’s Department of Transportation has had some sort of close-the-roads celebration, and Summer Streets 2012 looks like it could be as much or even more fun/refreshing than the year there were dumpster pools!

DOT Summer Streets 2012 Features NYC Zip Line & Climbing Wall NYC

During the DOT’s Summer Streets 2012, all of Lafayette Street, from Foley Square near City Hall (and the Brooklyn Bridge) to Union Square, and then all of Park Avenue up to 72nd Street, is completely closed to vehicular traffic from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.. That’s seven miles of suddenly-quiet city streets, just begging you to get up out of bed and join the festivities. And festivities there will be! The headline-grabbing addition to Summer Streets NYC is the free NYC zip line, which will send you screaming (or not) 160 feet above Union Square. Also worth checking out: the free 25-foot climbing wall outside Soho’s REI (now handsomely housed in the Puck building, in case you didn’t know); and the free bike helmet fitting (with FREE bike helmet!) at the the Uptown Rest Stop on 51st Street.

Bikers enjoy free bicycle rentals at NYC's Summer Streets festival.

Even More Festivities at NYC Summer Streets 2012

Summer Streets 2012 also features free bike and rollerblade rentals at several of the rest stops, as well as performances by the likes of the National Double Dutch League, fitness classes led by Crunch trainers, a “football toss” with NFL Play360, salsa lessons, “fix-a-flat” and “bike commuting” lessons via REI, free bike repair, and site-specific DOT Urban Art installations. All of the planned activities happen at one or more of the five designated rest stops along the route–at Foley Square, Spring Street, Astor Place, and 25th and 51st Streets–but even if you don’t take advantage of any of the above, we definitely recommend getting out and roaming around a bit; it’s guaranteed to look and feel quite a bit different out there than on your usual NYC Saturday.

Art installation and Whole Foods city picnic at Summer Streets in Manhattan.

Summer Streets 2012 details

The NYC Department of Transportation’s fifth annual Summer Streets NYC will be on the Saturdays of August 4, 11, and 18, from 7:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. For maps, schedules, and a complete list of activities and adventures, visit the DOT Summer Streets 2012 website.

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