The city will bring back Car Free Earth Day this year, closing off a batch of New York City streets to cars for a day on Saturday, April 23, and replacing the Big Apple’s honking and polluting gas guzzlers on a select set of thoroughfares with performances, workshops, and kid-friendly games.
“We encourage all New Yorkers to embrace the streets and imagine what could be possible if we opened our streets for more than just moving personal vehicles,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Ydanis Rodriguez during a press conference in Times Square Thursday.
Programming includes dance and music, fitness classes, family-friendly games, trivia, helmet giveaways, as well as educational workshops and story times.
The event comes the weekend after Earth Day and will ban cars for most of the day at the following locations:
- Bronx, Roberto Clemente Plaza, 3rd Avenue, 148th Street to 149th Street
- Bronx, Southbound Mosholu Parkway, Van Cortlandt Avenue East to Bainbridge Avenue
- Brooklyn, Tompkins Avenue, Gates Avenue to Halsey Street
- Manhattan, Avenue B, East 6th Street to East 14th Street
- Manhattan, Broadway, East 17th Street to West 42nd Street
- Manhattan, St. Nicholas Avenue, 181st Street to 190th Street
- Queens, 34th Avenue, 69th Street to 94th Street
- Staten Island, Minthorne Street, Bay Street to Victory Boulevard
The annual event debuted in 2016, but was on pause for two years during the COVID-19 pandemic.
DOT officials said it will connect more than 100 Open Streets and 22 plazas.
The environmentally-themed celebration will mark the beginning of this year’s Open Streets program, and Rodriguez encouraged New Yorkers interested in bringing the scheme to their block to contact the agency for support.
“More than 200 Open Streets will be happening this year,” the Transportation commissioner said. “If any group of residents, if any local elected official, if any business improvement district… want to put a proposal to create an Open Street, there’s opportunity for them to be added and there’s financial support for those who need it.”