New York City Department of Transportation (DOT) Commissioner Janette Sadik-Khan today reminded New Yorkers and visitors to take part in Summer Streets 2013—the first of three consecutive Saturdays taking place this weekend on Aug. 3—and enjoy nearly seven miles of car-free streets in Manhattan from the Brooklyn Bridge to Central Park open to free fun, family-friendly activities and healthy recreation. From 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Aug. 3, 10 and 17, attendees can enjoy a new lineup of activities, including “Voice Tunnel,” an interactive light and sound installation by Mexican-Canadian artist Rafael Lozano-Hemmer. For the first time in generations, pedestrians are given exclusive access to this underpass to lend their own voices through an intercom stationed at the tunnel’s center. The 300 theatrical spotlights and 150 speakers combine to make Voice Tunnel play people’s recordings and display columns of light based on the loudness of each person’s recording. At any given time, the tunnel is illuminated by the voices of nearly 100 participants. Full details about Summer Streets activities can be found at nyc.gov/summerstreets.
“For more than 150 years, the Park Avenue tunnel has been hidden in plain sight for pedestrians, offering first a glimpse from a horse carriage, then a train seat, and then through a car window,” said Commissioner Sadik-Khan. “Summer Streets brings New Yorkers up close with this engineering marvel through Rafael’s Voice Tunnel, which is as much about interactive art as it is a new view of the archeology of New York.”
Other new Summer Streets’ attractions include “The Course of Emotions,” a nine-hole miniature golf course designed by artist Risa Puno and family-friendly programing at the Uptown rest stop at 52nd Street and Park Avenue; “CoolStop,” a misting system designed by Chat Travieso at the Foley Square rest stop at Duane and Centre streets; cross-fitness activities at the Astor Place rest stop; and self-guided public art and architecture walking tours along the route. New York City’s signature summertime event also includes the return of the popular 165-foot-long, 25-foot-high zip line at Foley Square, a 25-foot-tall rock climbing wall at the Soho rest stop at Spring and Lafayette streets, and the DOT’s free helmet distribution and fitting and the City Picnic area at the Midtown rest stop at 25th Street and Park Avenue, among others. For a preview of Voice Tunnel and to check out a video from a recent technical demonstration, visit nyc.gov/summerstreets.
This year’s Summer Streets also features a new public-art education component. “Art Within One Mile” is a self-guided public art walking tour with points along and within one mile of the route. Ninety-four wayfinding signs developed by artist Bundith Phunsombatlert will be placed along the route for the duration of Summer Streets to point out permanent and temporary installations. The AIA Center for Architecture and Culture Now also created an “Architectural Walking Tour” for New Yorkers and visitors alike to download onto mobile devices to see and learn about architectural icons along the Summer Streets route.
In addition to providing thousands of free helmets to children and adults at the 25th Street rest stop, DOT is again sponsoring a Safety Zone, with Truck’s Eye View, a truck and driver from the Truck Association and other fun activities at the 52st rest stop that encourage shared responsibility of the streets.
The City Department of Environmental Protection will provide drinking water fountains along the route. Citi Bike is offering demonstrations at 25th Street and is also hosting an informational booth with opportunities to learn more about bike share and becoming a member. Citi Bike stations along the route will be staffed with Citi Bike ambassadors who can answer questions and assist with the purchase of daily passes. Free Bike and Roll bicycle rentals are offered at select locations. Rollerblade inline skates will also be available for rent. Music, dance and theater performances will be held at the Uptown rest stop by Phone Home, Yung Li Dance Company, Cupcake Lady Productions, and more. Free half-hour exercise and dance classes will be offered along with fun, family-friendly activities for all ages along the route.
This year’s Summer Streets events are made possible in part through the support of REI, Whole Foods Market, Banana Boat, Reebok, Asphalt Green and NFL PLAY 60, among others. Media sponsors include CBS 2, Metro, Clear Channel, SNY, New York Magazine and Univision.
Key cross-town streets will remain open to vehicles. No Parking regulations will be in effect from 11 p.m. the Friday evening before each event until 2 p.m. the day of the event. Street closures will begin at 6 a.m., with streets reopening at 1:30 p.m. on the day of each event. More information can be found at the Summer Streets site.
DOT also partnered with 23 community groups to present Weekend Walks at 24 sites across the five boroughs. Each event creates high-quality space in commercial districts, featuring a range of family-friendly activities, from music performances to arts and crafts to classes and youth programming. Since 2008, community groups have applied to DOT to bring these unique, locally-organized events to their neighborhoods. A list of remaining Weekend Walks from now through October is below. More information is available at www.nyc.gov/weekendwalks.
Remaining Weekend Walks Events
- Weekend Walks on Burnside Avenue: West Burnside Avenue between Davidson Avenue and Jerome Avenue; August 3 (Saturday) at noon–5:30 pm. Hosted by Davidson Community Center.
- 204th Street Weekend Walks: East 204th Street between Bainbridge Avenue and Decatur Avenue; August 4, August 11 (Sundays) at noon–6:00 pm. Hosted by Bronx Community Board 7.
- Summer Stroll, 69th-80th Streets: Third Avenue between 69th Street and 80th Street; August 9, August 16 (Fridays) at 6:00 pm–10:00 pm. Hosted by Merchants of Third Avenue.
- TAMA Summer Fest Weekend Walks III: Tompkins Avenue between Hancock Street and Putnam Avenue; August 3 (Saturday) at 2:30–5:30 pm. Hosted by Bridge Street Development Corporation.
- Southside Weekend Walks: Havemeyer Street between South 4th Street and Grand Street; September 21, September 28 (Saturdays) at noon – 5:00 pm. Hosted by El Puente.
- Summer Space: Montague Street between Clinton Street and Hicks Street; September 15, September 22 (Sundays) at noon–5:00 pm. Hosted by Montague Street BID.
- Children’s Halloween Spectacular: St. Marks Avenue/Sixth Avenue and Flatbush Avenue; October 20, October 27 (Sundays) at noon–4:00 pm Hosted by North Flatbush Avenue BID.
- Manhattan Valley Family Days: Amsterdam Avenue between West 106th Street and West 110th Street; September 8, September 15 (Sundays) at 11:00 am–5:00 pm. Hosted by the Columbus Amsterdam BID.
- Uptown Pops: Hamilton Place between West 136th Street and West 137th Street; September 14, September 21, September 28 (Saturdays) at 11:00 am–3:00 pm. Hosted by the West Harlem Art Fund.
- Sunnyside Strolls: 46th Street between Greenpoint Avenue and Queens Boulevard; August 3, August 10, August 17 (Saturdays) at noon–7:00 pm. Hosted by Sunnyside Shines BID.
- Astoria Park Shore Fest: Shore Boulevard between Astoria Park South and Ditmars Boulevard; August 4, August 11, August 18 (Sundays) at 1:00 pm–6:30 pm. Hosted by Astoria Park Alliance.
- Bayside Village September: Bell Boulevard between 39th Avenue and 41st Avenue; September 28 (Saturday) at noon – 5:00 pm. Hosted by the Bayside Village BID (subject to change).