Summer Streets 2013: NYC’s Annual 7-Mile Block Party!

NYC's Summer Streets visitors enjoying jogging and free bicycle rentals.

Summer Streets, those three glorious Saturdays in August when cars are banned from stretches of Manhattan’s great boulevards and pedestrians and cyclists take over, is back again for it’s sixth year in a row.

And like every other popular/awesome event in this city, Summer Streets 2013 has only gotten bigger, more pleasant and fun, more varied in its “rest-stop” activities. It’s like 7-mile-long block party, and the whole town’s invited.

Zip line at NYC's Summer Streets 7-Mile block party.

7 Car-less, Fun-filled Blocks in NYC

As in years past, Summer Streets 2013 runs from Foley Square to 72nd Street, starting on Lafayette and then switching at Union Square to Park Avenue for the rest of the way. On August 3, 10, and 17, no motor vehicles of any kind are allowed from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., so if you just want to stroll the entire seven miles, or leisurely bike your way up or down (or both), that should give you plenty of time, even with the inevitable snack breaks and neighborly chit-chat with friends and strangers. (Really: I’ve always found this to be the most-likely-to-run-into-people-you-know event of the year.) Increasingly, however, much of the “action” on Summer Streets comes at the rest stops, five areas of free activities spread out along the route. The zip line (165 feet of flying fun!) and the rock-climbing wall return again this year, and are likely to attract large crowds. New additions to Summer Streets 2013 include mini-golf and a CoolStop Misting System (instead of dumpster pools) on the Upper East Side.

Voice Tunner by Lozano-Hemmer and cyclist at NYC's Summer Streets block party.

Sound-and-Light Installation in the Park Avenue Tunnel

But the best, most exciting new feature of Summer Streets? For the first time ever the Park Avenue tunnel, which runs from 33rd to 40th Streets, will be open to pedestrians AND it will house a likely-awesome sound-and-light installation by artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. Called Voice Tunnel, Lozano-Hemmer’s piece will feature 360 theatrical lights, the intensity and direction of which will be controlled by speaking into a device in the middle of tunnel. Up to 90 different voices will loop through space simultaneously, pretty much guaranteeing a wild time.

Map of events for Manhattan's Summer Streets block party.

More Information: Summer Streets NYC

Summer Streets 2013 will run from Foley Square to East 72nd Street on August 3, 10, and 17, from 7:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. each day. For a handy little map plus a list of all the activities, visit Summer Streets online on

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