Summer Streets lets people take over Lower Manhattan for one day

Shared Streets saw a visit from Pop Up Yoga NYC during a press conference  on June 16, 2016.
Shared Streets saw a visit from Pop Up Yoga NYC during a press conference on June 16, 2016. Photo Credit: AFP / Getty Images / Sandy Huffaker

Streets for the people return this summer.

The Department of Transportation announced details for its 2016 Summer Streets schedule, which includes a new “Shared Streets” event that will limit car traffic through 60 square blocks of Lower Manhattan.

The closure will take place on Aug. 13, the second of three Summer Street Saturdays, in a zone that will stretch from City Hall down to the Alexander Hamilton Custom House at 1 Bowling Green. Public programming will exist within the confines of Broadway, Water Street and Fulton Street, bordered by nine iconic New York buildings and landmarks.

“It’s just a wonderful crossroads,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg, who noted the area as one of her favorites in the city.

Flanked by Pop Up Yoga NYC practitioners and a Heidi Latsky Dance group performance, Trottenberg added that, “The area will be open to pedestrians and cyclists and a whole bunch of historical and cultural activities. A lot of cities around the world have been doing this…and we’re proud to say that this is the first time that something of this scale has been tried in the United States.”

Councilman Ydanis Rodriguez, Transportation Committee chair, said it’s about time that the city starts catching up to others like Paris and Bogota, which have hosted a variety of car-free days in their cities to promote alternative forms of transit.

“Today we take [Car-Free Day] to a new level,” Rodriguez said. “It says more about the direction of our city and cities across the globe…We have so much potential, so much space dedicated only to cars.”

The ninth year of Summer Streets programming will take place on the first three Saturdays of August, on seven miles of roadway—from the Brooklyn Bridge along Lafayette Street and Park Avenue up to 72nd Street.

Programming will run from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will include dance, theatrical and musical performances; public art installations; historic walking tours; self-guided art and architecture maps; handcycles, basketball and soccer recreations; an outdoor food court with free samples; a 165-foot long, 30-foot high zip line; a beach in Foley Square, complete with a water slide.

The DOT also announced its 2016 Weekend Walk schedule, which features more than 50 separate events in the city.