BY GABE HERMAN | Soho has its fair share of traffic and congestion, but two blocks of the neighborhood may find some relief on Fri., Sept. 6, when they become pedestrian-only spaces for the day.
From 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., Howard St., which is four blocks long, will be closed to traffic along the two blocks from Mercer to Crosby Sts. It’s the inaugural event of the SoHo Broadway First Fridays program, which is run by the SoHo Broadway Initiative, in partnership with the Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program.
The closed-off blocks will have tables and chairs set up outside, along with cornhole and giant board games for people to play. There will also be al fresco dining from French restaurant La Mercerie, which is located along the two-block stretch at 53 Howard St.
Mark Dicus, executive director of the SoHo Broadway Initiative, which is a business improvement district, or BID, said the First Fridays program is a way to experiment with creating more walking space in the area.
“In a neighborhood that has limited pedestrian-oriented public space,” Dicus said, “the SoHo Broadway Initiative is exploring creative ways to meet this critical need and we are thrilled to be able to participate in the New York City Department of Transportation’s Weekend Walks program this fall.
“The goal of our First Fridays on Howard St. is to provide passive, car-free public outdoor space where residents, office and retail workers and visitors can relax and enjoy being outdoors,” he added. “We are providing tables with chairs and a few street games as we begin to rethink how existing sidewalks and streets might be used in ways that fit into this vibrant mixed-use community.”